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Full text of "The frogs. Translated into English rhyming ferse"

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Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2008 with funding from 

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http://www.archive.org/details/frogstranslatediOOarisuoft 



THE FROGS 

OF 

ARISTOPHANES 



THE ATHENIAN DRAMA 

FOR ENGLISH READERS 

A Series of Verse Tranblations of the Greek 

Dramatic Poete, with Commentaries and 

Explanatory Notes. 

Crown 8vo, cloth, gilt top, 7s. 6d. each net. 

Each Volume Illustrated from ancient 

Sculptures and Vase-Painting. 

AESCHYLUS : The Orestean Trilogy. By Prof. 
G. C. Warr. With an Introduction on The 
Rise of Greek Tragedy, and 1 3 Illustrations. 

SOPHOCLES: (Edipus Tyrannus and Coloneus, 
and jintigotie. By Prof. J. S. Phillimore. 
With an Introduction on Sophocles and his 
Treatment of Tragedy, and 16 Illustrations. 

EURIPIDES: Hippolytus ; Bacchae ; Aristo- 
phanes' ' Frogs.' By Prof. Gilbert Murray. 
With an Appendix on Ihe Lust Tragedies of 
Euripides, and an Introduction on 'The Signi- 
ficance oj the Bacchae in Athenian History, and 
I 2 Illustrations. \Fourth Edition. 



ALSO UNIFORM WITH THE ABOVE 

THE HOMERIC HYMNS. A New Prose 
Rendering by Andrew Lang, with Essays 
Critical and Explanatory, and 14 Illustrations. 



THE PLAYS OF EURIPIDES 

Translated into English Rhyming Verse, with 
Explanatory Notes, by Prot. Gilbert Murray. 



Hippolytus. Fifth Edition. "\ Paper Covers, Impl. 
Bacchae. Second Edition. i6mo, is. each net. 
The Trojan JVomen. 

Electra. Third Edition. j x\lso crown 8vo, 
Medea. Cloth, gilt top, 2s. 

The Frogs of Aristophanes. J each net. 



^S3T 



THE FROGS 



OF 



ARISTOPHANES 



TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH RHYMING VERSE BY 



GILBERT MURRAY, M.A., LL.D. 

EMERITUS I'KOFESSOR OF GREEK IN THE UNIVERSITY 
OF GLASGOW ; FELLOW OF NEW COLLEGTi, OXFORD 



LONDON: GEORGE ALLEN & SONS 

156, CHARING CROSS ROAD *r 

1908 / c;<?T 

[All rights reserved] 



%.,\A 



P9 

3877 

R3 



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08 



Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson <V Co. 
At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh 



THE FROGS 

OF 

ARISTOPHANES 



CHARACTERS OF THE TLAY 

The God Dionysus. 

Xanthias, his slave, 

Aeschylus. 

Euripides. 

Heracles. 

Pluto. 

Charon. 

Abacus, house porter to Pluto. 

A Corpse. 

A Maidskkvant of Pkksephone, 

A Landlady in Hades. 

Plathank, her servant. 

A Chorus of- Frogs. 

A Chorus ok Initiated Persons. 

Attendants at a Funeral ; Women worshippiiii^ lacchus ; 
Semants of Pluto, &'c. 

" The play was pirst produced in Athens at the Feast of the Lenaea 
in the year ^o<^ B.C. It obtained the Jirst prize. Phrynichus was 
second with ' The Muses,' Plato third with ' The Cleophon.' " 



THE FROGS 

At the hack of the scene is the house of Heracles. Enter 
Dionysus, disguised as Heracles, zuith /ion-skin 
and cluby but with the high boots of tragedy and a 
tunic of saffron silk. He is followed by Xanthias, 
seated on a donkey and carrying an immense hale of 
luggage on a porter's pole. They advance for a while 

in silence. 

Xanthias 

{looking round at his burden with a groan). 

Sir, shall I say one of the regular things 
That people in a theatre always laugh at ? 

Dionysus. 

Say what you like, except " I'm overloaded." 

But minil, not that. That's simply wormwood to me, 

Xanthias [disappointed). 
Not anything funny ? 

Dionysus. 
Not " Oh, my poor blisters !** 

Xanthias. 
Suppose I made the great joke ? 

Dionysus. 

Why, by all means. 



/ 



4 EURIPIDES 

Don't be afraid. Only, for mercy's sake, 
Don't . . . 

Xanthias. 

Don't do what ? 

Dionysus. 

Don't shift your luggage pole 
Across, and say, "I want to blow my nose." 

Xanthias [greatly disappointed). 

Nor, that I've got such a weight upon my back 
That unless some one helps me quickly I shall sneeze ? 

Dionysus. 
Oh, please, no. Keep it till I need emetics. 

Xanthias. 
Then what's the good of carrying all this lumber 
If I mayn't make one single good old wheeze 
Like Phrynichus, Ameipsias, and Lykis ? 

Dionysus. 
Ah no ; don't make them. — When I sit down there 

[Pointing to the auditorium. 
And hear some of those choice products, I go home 
A twelvemonth older. 

Xanthias {to himself). 

Oh, my poor old neck : 
Blistered all round, and mustn't say it's blistered, 
Because that's funny ! 

Dionysus. 

Airs and insolence ! 
When I, Dionysus, child of the Great Jug, t: 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 5 

Must work and walk myself, and have him riding 
Lest he should tire liiuibclf or carry things ! 

Xanthias. 
Am I not carrying things ? 

Dionysus. 

They're carrying you. 

Xanthias {sJww'nig the baggage). 

I'm carrying this. 

Dionysus. 

How ? 

Xanthias. 

With my back half-broken. 

Dionysus. 
That bag is clearly carried by a donkey. 

Xanthias. 
No donkey carries bags that / am carrying. 

Dionysus. 
I suppose you know the donkey's carrying you. 

Xanthias {turning cross). 
I don't. I only know my shoulder's sore ! 

* Dionysus. 

Well, if it does no good to ride the donkey, 
Go turns, and let the poor beast ride on you. 



6 EURIPIDES 

Xanthias {aside). 
Just like my luck. — Why wasn't I on board 
At Arginusae ? Then I'd let you have it. 

Dionysus. 

Dismount, you rascal. — Here's the door close by 
Where I must turn in first — and I on foot ! {Knocking. 
Porter ! Hi, porter ! Hi ! 

Heracles {entering from the house). 
Who's knocking there ? 
More like a mad bull butting at the door, 
Whoever he is . . . {seeing Dionysus). God bless us, 
what's all this ? 

\He examines Dionysus minutely^ then chokes 
with si/ent emotion. 



Boy! 



Dionysus {aside to Xanthias). 
Xanthias. 



What, sir ? 



The man's afraid. 



Dionysus. 
Did you notice ? 

Xanthias. 
Dionysus. 



Notice what ? 



Xanthias. 
Yes, sir ; {aside) afraid you're cracked ! 

Heracles {struggli?7g with laughter). 

I wouldn't if I possibly could help it : 
I'm trying to bite my lips, but all the same . . . {roan 
with laughter). 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 7 

Dionysus. 
Don't be absurd ! Come here. I want something, 

Heracles. 

I would, but I can't yet shake this laughter off: 
The lion-skin on a robe of saffron silk ! 
How comes my club to sort with high-heeled boots ? 
What's the idea ? Where have you come from now ? 

Dionysus. 
I've been at sea, serving with Cleisthenes. 

Heracles. 
You fought a battle ? 

Dionysus. 

Yes : sank several ships, 
Some twelve or thirteen. 

Heracles. 

Just you two ? 

Dionysus. 

Of course. 

Xantmias [aside). 

And thtMi I woke, and it was all a dream ! 

Dionysus. 

Well, one day I was sitting there on deck 
Reading the Andromeda, when all at once 
A great desire came knocking at my heart, 
You'd hardly think .. . 

Heracles. 

A great desire ? How big ? 



8 EURIPIDES 

Dionysus. 
Oh, not so big. Perhaps as large as Molon. 

Heracles. 
Who was the lady ? 

Dionysus. 

Lady ? 

Heracles. 

Well, the girl ? 
Dionysus. 

Great Heaven, there wasn^ one ! 

Heracles. 

Well, I have always 
Considered Cleisthenes a perfect lady ! 

Dionysus. 

Don't mock me, brother ! It's a serious thing, 
A passion that has worn me to a shadow. 

Heracles. 
Well, tell us all about it. 

Dionysus 

[with the despair of an artist explaining himself to a 

common athlete^ 

No ; I can't. 
Tou never . . . But I'll think of an analogy. 
You never felt a sudden inward craving 
For . . . pease-broth ? 

Heracles. 
Peasc-broth ? Bless me, crowds of times. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 9 

Dionysus. 
See*st then the sudden truth? Or shall I put it 
Another way ? 

Heracles. 

Oh, not about pease-broth. 
I see it quite. 

Dionysus. 

Well, I am now consumed 

By just that sort of restless craving for 

Euripides. 

Heracles. 

Lord save us, the man's dead ! 

Dionysus. 

He is ; and no one in this world shall stop me 
From going to see him ! 

Heracles. 

Down to the place of shades ? 

Dionysus. 
The place of shades or any shadier still. 

Heracles. 
What do you want to get ? 

Dionysus. 

I want a poet, 
For most be dead ; only the false live on. 

Heracles. 
lophon's still alive. 

Dionysus. 

Well, there you have it ; 



lo EURIPIDES 

The one good thing still left us, if it is one. 
For even as to that I have my doubts. 

Heracles. 

But say, why don't you bring up Sophocles 

By preference, if you must have some one back ? 

Dionysus. 
No, not till IVe had lophon quite alone 
And seen what note he gives without his father. 
Besides, Euripides, being full of tricks, 
Would give the slip to his master, if need were, 
And try to escape with me ; while Sophocles, 
Content with us, will be content in Hell. 

Heracles. 
And Agathon, where is he ? 

Dionysus. 

Gone far away, 
A poet true, wliom many friends regret. 

Heracles. 
Beshrew him ! Where ? 

Dionysus, 
To feast with peaceful kings ! 

Heracles. 
And Xenocles ? 

Dionysus. 

Oh, plague take Xenocles ! 

Heracles. 
Pythangelus, then ? 

[Dionysus shrugs his shoulders in expressive silettce. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS ii 

Xanthias {to himself). 

And no one thinks of me, 
When all my shoulder's skinning, simply skinning. 

Heracles. 

But aren't there other pretty fellows there 
All writing tragedies by tens of thousands, 
And miles verboser than Euripides ? 

Dionysus, 
Leaves without fruit ; trills in the empty air, 
And starling chatter, mutilating art ! 
Give them one chance and that's the end of them, 
One weak assault on an unprotected Muse. 
Search as you will, you'll find no poet now 
With grit in him, to wake a word of power. 

Heracles. 
How " grit " ? 

Dionysus. 

The grit that gives them heart to risk 
Bold things — vast Ether, residence of God, 
Or Time's long foot, or souls that won't take ouths 
While tongues go swearing falsely by themselves. 

Heracles. 
You like that stuff ? 

Dionysus. 

Like it ? I rave about it. 

Heracles {refecting). 
Why, yes ; it's devilish tricky, as you say. 

Dionysus. 
"Ride not upon my soul ! " Use your own donkey. 



12 EURIPIDES 

Heracles {apologising). 
I only meant it was obviously humbug ! 

Dionysus. 
If ever I need advice about a dinner, 
I'll come to you ! 

Xanthias {to himself). 

And no one thinks of me. 

Dionysus. 
But w^hy I came in these especial trappings — 
Disguised as you, in fact — was this. I want you 
To tell me all the hosts with whom you stayed 
That time you went to fetch up Cerberus : 
Tell me your hosts, your harbours, bakers' shops. 
Inns, taverns — reputable and otherwise — 
Springs, roads, towns, posts, and landladies that keep 
The fewest fleas. 

Xanthias {as before). 

And no one thinks of mc ! 

Heracles {impressively). 
Bold man, and will you dare . . . 

Dionysus. 

Now, don't begin 

That sort of thing ; but tell the two of us 

What road will take us quickest down to Hades. — . 

And, please, no great extremes of heat or cold. 

Heracles. 
Well, which one had I better tell you first ? — 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 13 

Which now ? — Ah, yes ; suppose you got a boatman 
To tug you, with a hawser — round your neck . . . 

Dionysus. 
A chokey sort of journey, that. 

Heracles. 

Well, then, 
There is a short road, quick and smooth, the surface 
Well pounded — in a mortar. 

Dionysus. ; 

The hemlock way ? 

Heracles. 
Exactly. 

Dionysus. 

Cold and bitter I Why, it freezes 
All your shins numb. 

Heracles. - 
Do you mind one short and steep ? 

Dionysus. 
Not in the least . . . You know I'm no great walker. 

Heracles. 
Then just stroll down to Cerameicus . . , 

Dionysus. 

Well ? 
Heracles. 

Climb up the big tower . . . 

Dionysus. 

Good ; and then ? 



14 EURIPIDES 

Heracles. 

Then watch 
And see them start the torch-race down below ; 
Lean over till you hear the men say " Go," 
And then, go. 

Dionysus. 

Where ? 

Heracles. 

Why, over. 

Dionysus. 

Not for me. 
It'd cost me two whole sausage bags of brains. ^ 
I won't go that way. 

Heracles. 
Well, how will you go ? 

Dionysus. 
The wayjvoM went that time. 

Heracles {imprrss'ively). 

The voyage is long. 
You first come to a great mere, fathomless 
And very wide. 

Dionysus [unimpressed). 

How do I get across ? 

Heracles {with a gesture). 
In a little boat, like that ; an aged man 
Will row you across the ferry ... for two obols. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 15 

Dionysus. 

Those two old obols, everywhere at work ! 

I wonder how they found their way down there ? 

Heracles. 

Oh, Theseus took them ! — After that you'll see 
Snakes and queer monsters, crowds and crowds. 

Dionysus. 

Now don't : 
Don't play at bogies ! You can never move me ! 

Heraci.es. 

Then deep, deep mire and everlasting filth, 
And, wallowing there, such as have wronged a guest, 
Or picked a wench's pocket while they kissed her, 
Beaten their mothers, smacked their fathers' jaws, 
Or sworn perjurious oaths before high heaven. 

Dionysus. 

And with them, I should hope, such as iiave learned 

Kinesias's latest Battle Dance, 

Or copied out a speech of Morsimus ! 

Heracles. 

Then you will find a breath about your ears 
Of music, and a light before your eyes 
Most beautiful — like this — and myrtle groves, 
And joyous throngs of women and of men, 
And clapping of glad hands. 

Dionysus. 

And who will they be ? 



i6 EURIPIDES 

Heracles, 
The Initiated. 

Xa NTH IAS {aside). 

Yes ; and I'm the donkey 
Holiday-making at the Mysteries ! 
But I won't stand this weight one moment longer. 

\^He begins to put down his bundle. 

Heracles. 

And they will forthwith tell you all you seek. 
They have their dwelling just beside the road, 
At Pluto's very door. — So now good-bye ; 
And a pleasant journey, brother. 

Dionysus. 

Thanks ; good-bye. 
Take care of yourself. {To Xanthias, while Heracles 
returns into the house) Take up the bags again. 

Xanthias. 
Before I've put them down ? 

Dionysus. 

Yes, and be quick. 

Xanthias. 

No, really, sir ; we ought to hire a porter. 

Dionysus. 
And what if I can't find one ? 

Xanthias. 

Then I'll go. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 17 

Dionysus. 

All right. — Why, here's a funeral, just in time. 

[Enter a Funeral on the right. 
Here, sir — it's you I'm addressing — the defunct j 
Do you care to carry a few traps to Hades ? 

The Corpse [sitting up). 
How heavy ? 

Dionysus. 

What you see. 

Corpse. ^ "^ 9 

You'll pay two drachmas ? 

Dionysus. 
Oh, come, that's rather much. 

Corpse. 

Bearers, move on ! 
Dionysus. 

My good man, wait ! See if we can't arrange. 

Corpse. 
Two drachmas down, or else don't talk to me. 

Dionysus. 
Nine obols ? 

Corpse {lying down again). 

Strike me living if I will ! 

[Exit the Funeral, 

Xa NTH IAS. 

That dog's too proud ! He'll come to a bad end. — 
Well, I'll be porter. 

B 



i8 EURIPIDES 

Dionysus. 

That's a good brave fellow. 
\They walk on for some time. The scene changes.^ 
a desolate lake taking the place of the house. 
Dionysus peers into the distance, 

Dionysus. 
What is that ? 

Xanthias. 

That ? A lake. 



Dionysus. 



By Zeus, it is ! 



The mere he spoke of. 

Xanthias. 

Yes ; I see a boat. 

Dionysus. 
Yes ; by the powers ! 

Xanthias. 

And yonder must be Charon. 

Dionysus. 

Charon, ahoy ! 

Both. 

Ahoy ! Charon, ahoy ! 

Charon 

{approaching in the boat. He is an old^ grim, and squalid 
Ferryman, wearing a slave's felt cap and a sleeve- 
less tunic). 

Who is for rest from sufferings and cares ? 

Who's for the Carrion Crows, and the Dead Donkeys ; 

Lethe and Sparta and the rest of Hell ? 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 19 

Dionysus. 

n 

Charon. 
Get in. 

Dionysus. 

Where do you touch ? The Carrion Crows, 
You said ? 

Charon [gruffly). 

The Dogs will be the place for you. 
Get in. 

Dionysus. 

Come, Xanthias. 

Charon. 

I don't take slaves : 
Unless he has won his freedom ? Did he fight 
The battle of the Cold Meat Unpreserved ? 

Xanthias^ 
Well, no ; my eyes were very sore just then . . . 

Charon. 
Then trot round on your legs ! 

Xanthias. 

Where shall I meet you ? 

Charon. 
At the Cold Seat beside the Blasting Stone. 

Dionysus [to Xanthias, who hesitates). 
You understand ? 



20 EURIPIDES 

Xanthias. 

Oh, quite. [Aside) Just like my luck. 
What can have crossed me when I started out ? 

\_Exit Xanthias. 
Charon. 

Sit to your oar (Dionysus does his best to obey). Any 

more passengers ? 
If so, make haste. [To Dionysus) What are you doing 

there ? 

Dionysus. 

Why, what you told me ; sitting on my oar. 

Charon. 

Oh, are you ? Well, get up again and sit 

\_Pushing him down. 
Down there — fatty ! 

Dionysus [doing everything wrong"). 
Like that ? 



And stretch 



Charon. 

Put out your arms 

Dionysus. 
Like that ? 



Charon. 

None of your nonsense here ! 
Put both your feet against the stretcher. — Now, 
In good time, row ! 

Dionysus [fluently, putting down his oars). 
And how do you expect 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 21 

A man like me, with no experience, 
No seamanship, no Salamis, — to row ? 

Charon. 

You'll row all right ; as soon as you fall to, 
You'll hear a first-rate tune that makes you row. 

Dionysus. 



Who sin2;s it ? 



That's music ! 



Charon. 
Certain cycnoranidae. 



Dionysus. 

Give the word then, and we'll see. 
[Charon gives the word for roxv'mg and marks 
the time. A Chorus of Frogs under the 
water is heard. The Feast of Pots to which 
they refer was the third day of the Anthcsteria^ 
and induded songs to PlONYSUS at his temple 
in the district called Limnae (** Marshes "). 

Frogs. 

O brood of the mere and the spring, 
Gather together and sing 

From the depths of your throat 

By the side of the boat, 
Co-ax, as we move in a ring ; 

As in Limnae we sang the divine 
Nyseian Giver of Wine, 

When the people in lots 

With their sanctified Pots 
Came reeling around my shrine. 



22 EURIPIDES 

Co-ax, co-iix, co-Ux, 
Biekekekex co-ax. 

Dionysus. 
Don't sing any more ; 
I begin to be sore ! 

Frogs. 
Brekekekex co-iix. 

Co-ax, co-iix, co-ax, 
Brekekekex co-iix ! 

Dionysus. 
Is it nothing to you 
If I'm black and I'm blue ? 

Frogs. 
Brekekekex co-iix ! 

Dionysus. 

A plague on all of your swarming packs. 
There''s nothing in you except co-ax ! 

Frogs. 
Well, and what more do you need ? 
Though it's none of your business indeed, 

When the Muse thereanent 

Is entirely content, 
And horny-hoof Pan with his reed : 

When Apollo is fain to admire 
My voice, on account of his lyre 

Which he frames with the rushes 

And watery bushes — 
Co-ax ! — which I grow in the mire. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 23 

Co-ax, co-ax, co-ilx, 
Brekekekex co-iix ! 

Dionysus. 
Peace, musical sisters ! 
I'm covered with blisters. 

Frogs, 
Brekekekex co-iix. 

Co-ax, co-ax, co-ax, 
Brekekekex co-iix ! 

Our song we can double 

Without the least trouble : 
Brekekekex co-iix. 



Sing we now, if ever hopping 

Through the sedge and flowering rushes; 
In and out the sunshine flopping. 
We have sported, rising, dropping. 

With our song that nothing hushes. 

Sing, if e'er in days of storm 

Safe our native oozes bore us, 
Staved the rain oflf, kept us warm, 
Till we set our dance in form. 

Raised our hubble-bubbling chorus : 

Brekekekex co-iix, co-ax ! 

Dionysus, 
Brekekekex co-iix, co-ax 1 

I can sing it as loud as you. 

Frogs. 
Sisters, that he never must do ! 



24 EURIPIDES 

Dionysus. 
Would you have me row till my shoulder cracks? 

Frogs. 
Brekekckcx co-iix, co-iix I 

Dionysus. 
Brekekekcx co-ax, co-iix ! 
Groan away till you burst your backs. 
It's nothing to me. 

Frogs. 
Just wait till you see. 

Dionysus. 
I don't care how you scold- 

Frogs. 
Then all day long 
We will croak you a song 
As loud as our throats can hold. 

Brekekekex co-ax, co-ax ! ! 

Dionysus. 
Brekekekex co-ax, co-ax ! ! 
ril see you don't outdo me in that. 

Frogs. 
Well, you shall never beat us — that's flat ! 

Dionysus. 
I'll make you cease your song 
If I shout for it all day long ; 

My lungs I'll tax 

With co-ax, co-ax 
— I assure you they're thoroughly strong — 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 25 

Until your efforts at last relax : 
Brekekekex co-iix, co-ax ! ! 

\^No answer from the Frogs. 
Brekekekex co-ax, co-ax ! ! ! 
I knew in the end I should stop your quacks ! 

[TA<f boat has now reached the further shore. 

Charon. 

Easy there ! Stop her ! Lay her alongside. — 
Now pay your fare and go. 

Dionysus. 

There are the obols. 
[Dionysus gets out. The boat and Charon 
disappear. Dionysus peers about him. 
Ho, Xanthias ! . . . Where's Xanthias ? — Is that you r 



Hullo 



Xanthias {from the darkness), 

Dionysus, 
Come this way. 

Xanthias [entering). 

Oh, I'm glad to see you ! 

Dionysus [looking round). 
Well, and what have we here ? 

Xanthias. 

Darkness — and mud. 

Dionysus. 

Did you see any of the perjurers here. 
And father-beaters, as he said we should ? 



26 EURIPIDES 

Xanthias. 



Why, didn't you 



Dionysus. 

I ? Lots. 

\Look'ing full at the audience. 
I see them now. 
Well, what are we to do ? 

Xanthias. 

Move further on. 
This is the place he said was all aswarm 
With horrid beasts. 

Dionysus. 

A plague on what he said ! 
Exaggerating just to frighten me. 
Because he knew my courage and was jealous. 
Naught lives so flown with pride as Heracles! 
Why, my best wish would be to meet with something, 
Some real adventure, worthy of our travels 1 

Xanthias (listening). 
Stay ! — Yes, upon my word. I hear a noise. 

Dionysus [nervously). 
God bless me, where ? 

Xanthias. 
Behind. 

Dionysus. 

Go to the rear. 
Xanthias. 

No ; it's in front somewhere. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 27 

Dionysus. 

Then get in front. 

Xanthias. 
Why, there I see it. — Save us ! — A great beast. . . . 

Dionysus {cowering behind Xanthias). 

What like ? 

Xanthias. 

Horrid ! ... At least it keeps on changing ! 

It was a bull ; now it's a mule ; and now 

A fair young girl. 

Dionysus. 

Where is it ? Let me at it ! 

Xanthias. 
Stay, sir ; it's not a girl now, it's a dog. 

Dionysus. 

It must be Empusa ! 

Xanthias. 

Yes. At least its head 

Is all on fire. 

Dionysus. 

Has it a leg of brass ? 

Xanthias. 

Yes, that it has. And the other leg of cow-dung. 

It's she 1 

Dionysus. 

Where shall I go ? 

Xanthias. 

Well, where shall I ? 



28 EURIPIDES 

Dionysus 
{running forward and addressing the Priest of Dionysus 
in his seat of state in the centre of the front row 
of the audience). 

My Priest, protect me and we'll sup together ! 

Xanthias. 
We're done for, O Lord Heracles. 

Dionysus {cowering again). 

Oh, don't ! 
Don't shout like that, man, and don't breathe that 
name. 

Xanthias. 
Dionysus, then ! 

Dionysus. 

No, no. That's worse than the other. . . . 
Keep on the way you're going. 

Xanthias {after searching about). 

Come along, sir. 
Dionysus. 
What is it ? 

Xanthias. 

Don't be afraid, sir. All goes well. 
And we can say as said Hegelochus, 
"Beyond these storms I catch 3. piece of tai/P* 
Empusa's gone. 

Dionysus. 

Swear it. 

Xanthias. 

By Zeus, she's gone ! 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 29 

Dionysus. 
Again. 

Xanthias, 

By Zeus, she's gone ! 

Dionysus. 

Your solemn oath. 

Xanthias. 

By Zeus ! ! 

Dionysus [raising himself). 

Dear me, that made me feci quite pale. 

Xanthias [pointing to the Priest). 
And this kind gentleman turned red for sympathy. 

Dionysus. 

How can I have sinned to bring all this upon me ? 
What power above is bent on my destruction ? 

Xanthias. 
The residence of God, or Time's long foot ? 

Dionysus [listening as flute-playing is heard outside). 

I say 1 

Xanthias. 
What is it ? 

Dionysus. 

Don'^t you hear it ? 

Xanthias. 

What? 
Dionysus. 
Flutes blowing. 



30 EURIPIDES 

Xanthias. 

Yes. And such a smell of torches 
Floating towards us, all most Mystery-like ! 

Dionysus. 
Crouch quietly down and let us hear the music, 

[^T/iey crouch down at the left. Music is heard 
far off. Xanthias puts down the bundle. 

Chorus [unseen). 

lacchus, O lacchus ! <^' 
lacchus, O lacchus ! 

Xanthias. 

That's it, sir. These are the Initiated 
Rejoicing somewhere here, just as he told us. 
Why, it's the old lacchus hymn that used 
To warm the cockles of Diagoras ! 

Dionysus. 

Yes, it must be. However, weM best sit 
Quite still and listen, till we're sure of it. 

[There enters gradually the Chorus, consisting of 
Men Initiated in the Eleusinian Mysteries. 
They are led by a Hierophant or Initiat- 
ing Priest^ and accompanied by a throng of 
Worshipping Women. They have white 
robes^ wreaths upon their brows^ and torches 
in their hands. During their entrance the 
back scene again changes. The lake disappears 
and we fnd ourselves in front of the house of 
Pluto. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 31 

Chorus. 

Thou that dwellest in the shadow 
Of great glory here beside us, 
Spirit, Spirit, we have hied us 
To thy dancing in the meadow ! 
Come, lacchus ; let thy brow 
Toss its fruited myrtle bough ; 
We are thine, O happy dancer ; O our comrade, come 
and guide us ! 

Let the mystic measure beat : 
Come in riot fiery fleet ; 
Free and holy all before thee, 
While the Charites adore thee. 
And thy Mystae wait the music of thy feet ! 

Xanthias. 

O Virgin of Demeter, highly blest, 
What an entrancing smell of roasted pig ! 

Dionysus. 

Hush I hold your tongue ! Perhaps they'll give you 
some. 

Chorus. 

Spirit, Spirit, lift the shaken 

Splendour of thy tossing torches 1 
All the meadow flashes, scorches : 
..^ Up, lacchus, and awaken ! 

Come, thou star that bringest light 
To the darkness of our rite. 
Till thine old men leap as yovmg men, leap with every 
thought forsaken 



32 



r- 



EURIPIDES 

Of the dulness and the fear 
Left by many a circling year : 
Let thy red light guide the dances 
Where thy banded youth advances 
To be merry by the blossoms of the mere ! 

\_All the Chorus has now entered. 



HiEROPHANT. 

Hush, oh hush ! for our song begins. Let every one 

stand aside 
Who ow^ns an intellect muddled with sins, or in arts 

like these untried : 
If the mystic rites of the Muses true he has never 

seen nor sung : 
If he never the magical music knew of Cratinus the 

Bull-eater''s tongue : 
If he likes in a comedy nothing but riot and meaning- 
less harlequinade : 
Or in matters of politics cannot keep quiet and see 

that cabals be allayed, 
But blows up spite and keeps it alight to serve his 

personal ends : 
Or being in power at a critical hour, accepts little 

gifts from his friends : 
Or goes selling a ship, or betraying a fort, or takes to 

the trade of a smuggler, 
Attempting again, in Tiiorycion's sort, — that pestilent 

revenue-juggler, — 
From Aegina before us to stock Epidaurus with tar 

and canvas and hide. 
Or tries to persuade some friend in the trade for the 

enemy's ships to provide : 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 33 

Or a teacher of choirs who forgets his position and 

damages Hecate's shrines : 
Or the robber of poets, the mere politician, who spites 

us with pitiful fines 
Because we have suitably made him absurd in the 

God"'s traditional rhyme : 
Behold, I give word : and again give word : and give 

word for the third, last time : 
Make room, all such, for our dance and song. — Up, 

you, and give us a lay 
That is meet for our mirth-making all night long and 

for this great festival day. 

Chorus. 

Forth fare all ; 

This mead's bowers 
Bear fresh flowers ; 
Forth, I call. 
Leap, mock, dance, play-; 
Enough and to spare we have feasted to-day ! 

March : raise high 
Her whose hands 
Save these lands ; 
Raise due cry : 
Maid, Maid, save these, 
Tho' it may not exactly Thoryci'on please ! 

HiEROPHANT. 

One hymn to the Maiden ; now raise ye another 
To the Queen of the Fruits of the Earth. 

To Demeter the Corn-giver, Goddess and Mother, 
Make worship in musical mirth. 



34 EURIPIDES 

Chorus. 
Approach, O Queen of orgies pure, 
And us, thy faithful band, ensure 
From morn to eve to ply secure 

Our mocking and our clowning : 
To grace thy feast with many a hit 
Of merry jest or serious wit. 
And laugh, and earn the prize, and flit 

Triumphant to the crowning. 

HiEROPHANT. 

Now call the God of blooming mien ; . 

Raise the mystic chorus : 
Our comrade he and guide unseen, 

With us and before us. 

Chorus. 
lacchus high in glory, thou whose day 
Of all is merriest, hither, help our play ; 

Show, as we throne thee at thy Maiden's side, 
How light to thee are our long leagues of way. 

lacchus, happy dancer, be our guide. 

Thyself, that poorest men thy joy should share, 
Didst rend thy robe, thy royal sandal tear. 

That feet unshod might dance, and robes rent wide 
Wave in thy revel with no after care. 

lacchus, happy dancer, be our guide. 

Lo there ! but now across the dance apace 
A maiden tripped, a maiden fair of face, 

Whose tattered smock and kerchief scarce could hide 
The merry bosom peering from its place. 

lacchus, happy dancer, be our guide. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 35 

Xanthias. 

I always liked to follow some one else : 
Suppose we join and dance ? 

Dionysus. 

Why, so say I. 

[They join the Dance, 

HiEROPHANT. 

\These verses satirise Archedemus^ the politician^ 
who has never succeeded in making out a clear 
Athenian pedigree for himself ; Cleisthenes^ 
who went into mourning for imaginary re- 
latives lost at Arginusae ; and Callias^ the 
lady-killer^ who professed a descent from 
HeracleSy and wore a lion-skin in token 
thereof. 

Perhaps 'twill best beseem us 
To deal with Archedcmus, 
Who is toothless still and rootless, at seven years from 
birth : 

Chorus. 

Yet he leads the public preachers 
Of those poor dead upper creatures, 
And is prince of all the shadiness on earth ! 

HiEROPHANT. 

And Cleisthenes, says rumour, 
In a wild despairing humour 
Sits huddled up and tearing out his hair among the 
graves. 



36 EURIPIDES 

Chorus. 

To believe he would incline us 
That a person named Sebinus 
Is tossing yet unburied on the waves I 

HiEROPHANT. 

While Callias, says tattle, 
Has attended a sea-battle, 
And lionesses' scalps were the uniform he wore 1 

Dionysus {to The Hierophant). 
You'd oblige us much by telling 
Me the way to Pluto's dwelling. 
We are strangers newly lighted on your shore. 

Hierophant. 

No need of distant travel 
That problem to unravel ; 
For know that while you ask me, you are standing 

at the door. 
■"-/ Dionysus {to Xanthias). 

Then up, my lad, be packing 1 

Xanthias. 
There's the Devil in the sacking : 
It can't stay still a second on the floor I 

Hierophant. 
Now onward through Demeter's ring 

Through the leaves and flowers, 
AH who love her junketing. 

All who know her powers ! 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 37 

Fare forward you, while I go here 
With matron and with maiden, 

To make their night-long roaming clear 
With tossing torches laden. 

Chorus [of Worshipping Women^ as they file off). 

Then on 'mid the meadows deep, 
Where thickest the rosebuds creep 

And the dewdrops are pearliest : 
A jubilant step advance 
In our own, our eternal dance, 
Till Its joy the Glad Fates entrance 

Who threaded it earliest. 

For ours is the sunshine bright, 
Yea, ours is the joy of light 

All pure, without danger : 
For we thine Elect have been, 
Thy secrets our eyes have seen. 
And our hearts we have guarded clean 

Toward kinsman and stranger ! 

The HiEROPHANT and the Worshipping Women go off. 
The Men remain^ forming an ordinary Chorus. 
Dionysus approaches the central door. 

Dionysus. 

I ought by rights to knock ; but how, I wonder. 
I don't know how they do knock in this country. 

Xanthias. 

Oh, don't waste time. Go in and do your best, 
Like Heracles in heart as well as garb. 



38 EURIPIDES 

Dionysus {knocking). 
Ho there ! 

[The door opens and a Porter appear^ whose dress 
shows him to be Abacus, the Judge of the 
Dead, 

Aeacus. 
Who summons ? 



Dionysus. 



Heracles the Brave. 



Aeacus. 

Thou rash, impure, and most abandoned man, 
Foul, inly foul, yea foulest upon earth. 
Who harried our dog, Kerberus, choked him dumb. 
Fled, vanished, and left me to bear the blame. 
Who kept him ! — Now I have thee on the hip 1 
So close the black encaverned rocks of Styx 
And Acheronian crags a-drip with blood 
Surround thee, and Cocytus' circling hounds, 
And the hundred-headed serpent, that shall rend 
Thy bowels asunder ; to thy lungs shall cleave 
The lamprey of Tartessus, and thy reins 
And inmost entrails in one paste of gore 
Teithrasian Gorgons gorge for evermore ! 
— To whom, even now, I speed my indignant course ! 

[The Porter retires. 

Dionysus {who has fallen prostrate). 
Please 1 

Xanthias. 

What's the matter ? Quick, get up again 
Before they come and see you. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 39 

Dionysus. 

But I feel 

Faint. — Put a cold wet sponge against my heart. 

Xanthias [producing a sponge). 

There ; you apply it. 

Dionysus. 

Thanks. Where is it ? 

Xanthias. 

There. 
[Dionysus takes and applies it. 
Ye golden gods, is it there you keep your heart ? 

Dionysus. 
The nervous shock made it go down and down ! 

Xanthias. 
You are the greatest coward I ever saw, 
Of gods or humans 1 

Dionysus. 
I a coward ? — I had 
The presence of mind to ask you for a sponge. 
Few had done more 1 

Xanthias. 
Could any one do less ? 

Dionysus. 
A coward would still be flat there, sniffing salts ; 
I rose, called for a sponge, and used the sponge. 

Xanthias. 
That was brave, by Poseidon ! 



40 EURIPIDES 

Dionysus. 

I should think so. — 
And weren't j<jM frightened at his awful threats 
And language ? 

Xanthias. 

I ? I never cared a rap. /^ 

Dionysus. 

Oh, you're a hero, aren't you ? — and want glory. 
Well, you be me! Put on this lion's hide 
And take the club — if you're so dauntless-hearted. 
I'll take my turn, and be your luggage-boy. 

Xanthias. 

Over with both of them ! Of course I will. 

\_He proceeds to put on the lion-skin. 
Now watch if Xanthias-Heracles turns faint, 
Or shows the same " presence of mind," as you. 

Dionysus. 

The true Melit^an jail-bird, on my life ! . . . 
Well, I suppose I'd better take the luggage. 

[The exchange is just effected when the door again 
opens and there enters a Maid of Perse- 
phone. 

Maid. 

Dear Heracles, and is it you once more ? 
Come in ! No sooner did my mistress learn 
Your coming, than she set her bread to bake, 
Set pots of split-pea porridge, two or three, 
A-boiling, a whole ox upon the coals, 
Cakes in the oven, and big buns. — Oh, come in. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 4.1 

Xanthias {as Heracles). 
She is very kind j perhaps some other time. 

Maid. 
Oh, really ; but I mustn't let you go ! 
She's doing everything herself ! Braised game, 
Spices and fruits and stoups of the sweetest w^ine — 
Come in w^ith me. 

Xanthias. 

Most kind, but . , . 

Maid. 

No excuses. 
I won't let go. — A flutc-plaver, very pretty. 
Is waiting for you, and two or three such sweet 
Young dancing girls. 

Xanthi^o (wavering). 

Did you say dancing girls? 

Maid. 
Yes. Do come in. — They just were going to serv'e 
The fish, and have the table lifted in. 

Xanthias. 
I will ! I'll chance it ! — Go straight in and tell 
Those dancing girls that Heracles is coming ! 

[The Maid retires again. 
Here, boy, take up the bags and follow me. 

Dionysus. 
Stop, please ! — You didn't take it seriously 
When I just dressed you as Heracles for fun ? 
You can't be so ridiculous, Xanthias. 
Take up the bags at once and bring them in. 



42 EURIPIDES 

Xanthias. 

What ? Surely you don't mean to take away 
Your own gift ? 

Dionysus. 

Mean it ? No ; Fm doing it ! 
Off with that lion-skin, quick. 

\_Begins to strip off the lion-skin hy force. 

Xanthias. 

Help ! I'm assaulted . . . 
\_Giving way. 
I leave it with the Gods ! 

Dionysus [proceeding to dress himself again). 
The Gods, indeed ! 
What senseless vanity to expect to be 
Alcmena's son, a mortal and a slave ! 

Xanthias. 

Well, take it. I don't care. — The time may be, 
God willing, when you'll feel the need of me ! 

Chorus. 
That's the way such points to settle, 
Like a chief of tested mettle. 

Weather-worn on many seas. 
Not in one fixed pattern stopping, 
Like a painted thing, but dropping 

Always towards the side of ease. 
'Tis this instinct for soft places. 

To keep warm while others freeze, 
Marks a man of gifts and graces, 

Like our own Theramenes ! 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 43 

Dionysus. 
Surely 'twould the matter worsen, 
If I saw this low-bred person 

On his cushions sprawling, so, 
Served him drinking, watched him winking: — 
If he knew what I was thinking — • 

And he would, for certain, know, 
Being a mighty shrewd deviser 
Of such fancies — with a blow 
P'raps he'd loosen an incisor 

From the forefront of my row ! 
[During this song there has entered along the street 
a Landlady, who is soon followed by her 
servant, PLATHANfi. 

Landlady. 
Ho, Plathane, here, I want you, Plathane ! . . . 
Here is that scamp who came to the inn before. 
Ate sixteen loaves of bread. . . ,. 

Plathane. 

Why, so it is : 
The very man ! 

Xanthias {aside). 

Plere's fun for somebody. 

Landlady. 

And twenty plates of boiled meat, half-an-obol 
At every gulp ! 

Xanthias {as before). 
Some one'U catch it now 1 

Landlady. 
And all that garlic. 



44 EURIPIDES 

Dionysus. 

Nonsense, my good Vvoman, 
You don't know what you're saying. 

PLATHANi. 

Did ypu think 
I wouldn't know you in those bigh-heclcd boots? 

Landlady. 
And all the salt-fish I've not mentioned yet. . . . 

Plathane {to Landlady). 

No, you poor thing ; and all the good fresh cheese 
The man kept swallowing, and the baskets with it ! 

Landlady {to Xanthias). 
And when he saw me coming for the money 
Glared like a wild bull ! Yes, and ronred at me ! 

Xanthias. 
Just what he does ! His manners everywhere. 

Landlady. 
Tugged at his sword ! Pretended to be mad ! 

Plathane. 
Yes, you poor thing ; I don't know how you bore it ! 

Landlady. 

And we got all of a tremble, both of us, 
And ran up the ladder to the loft ! And he, 
He tore the matting up — and off he went ! 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 45 

Xanthias. 
Like him, again. 

Plathane. 

But something must be done ! 

Landlady {to PLATHANi). 
Run, you, and fetch me my protector, Cleon. 

Plathan^ 

{to the Landlady, as they ru?2 excitedly to go off in 

different directions). 

And you fetch me Hyperbolus, if you meet him. . . . 

Then we shall crush him ! 

Landlady {returning). 

Oh, that ugly jaw ! 
If I could throw a stone, I'M like to break 
Those wicked teeth that ground my larder dry ! 

Plathan^ {returning on the other side). 
And I should like to fling you in the pit ! 

Landlady {turning again as she goes off^. 
And I should like to get a scythe, and cut 
That throat that swallowed all my sausages. 

Plathan^ {the same). 
Well, I'll go straight to Cleon, and this same day 
We'll worm them out in a law-court, come what may ! 
[The Landlady and PlathanS go off in different 
directions. A painful silence ensues. At length : 

Dionysus. 
Plague take me ! No friend left me in the world. . . . 
Except old Xanthias ! 



46 EURIPIDES 

Xanthias. 

I know, I know ! 
We all see what you want. But that's enough 1 
I won't be Heracles. 

Dionysus. 

Now don't say that, 
Xanthias — old boy ! 

Xanthias. 

And how am I to be 
Alcmena's son — a mortal and a slave? 

Dionysus. 
I know you're angry, and quite justly so. 
Hit me if you like ; I won't say one word back. 
But, mark, if ever again in this wide world 
I rob you of these clothes, destruction fall 
On me myself, my wife, my little ones, — 
And, if you like, on the old bat Archedemus ! 

Xanthias. 
That oath will do. I take it on those terms. 

Chorus. 
Now 'tis yours to make repayment 
For the honour of this raiment ; 

Wear it well, as erst you wore ; 
If it needs some renovating, 
Think of whom you're personating, 

Glare like Heracles and roar. 
Else, if any fear you show, sir, 

Any weakness at the core. 
Any jesting, back you go, sir. 

To the baggage as before ! 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 47 

« 

Xanthias. 
Thank you for your kind intention, 
But I had some comprehension 

Of the task I undertook. 
Should the lion-skin make for profit, 
He'll attempt to make me dofF it — 

That I know — by hook or crook. 
Still I'll make my acting real, 

Peppery gait and fiery look. 
Ha ! Here comes the great ordeal : 

See the door. I'm sure it shook ! 

The central door opens and the Porter^ Aeacus, comes out 
with several ferocious-looking Thracian or Scythian 

constables. 

Abacus. 

Here, seize this dog-stealer and lead him forth 

To justice, quick. 

Dionysus {imitating Xanthias). 
Here's fun for somebody. 

Xanthias [in a Heraclean attitude). 
Stop, zounds ! Not one step more 1 

Aeacus. 

You want to fight ? 
Ho, Ditylas, Skeblyas, and Pardokas, 
Forward ! Oblige this person with some fighting ! 

Dionysus 
{while the constables gradually overpower Xanthias). 
How shocking to assault the constables — 
And stealing other people's things ! 



48 EURIPIDES 

A E AC as. 

Unnatural, 
That's what I call it. 

Dionysus. 
Quite a pain to see. 

Xanthias {now overpowered and disarmed)^ 
Now, by Lord Zeus, if ever I've been here 
Or stol'n from you the value of one hair, 
You may take and hang me on the nearest tree ! . . , 
Now, listen : and I'll act quite fairly by you ; 

[^Suddenly indicating Dionysus. 
Take this poor boy, and put him to the question ! 
And if you find me guilty, hang me straight. 

Abacus. 
What tortures do you allow ? 

Xanthias. 

Use all you like. 
Tie him in the ladder, hang him by the feet, 
Whip off his skin with bristle-whips and rack him ; 
You might well try some vinegar up his nose. 
And bricks upon his chest, and so on. Only 
No scourges made of . . . leek or young shalott. 

Aeacus. 

A most frank offer, most frank. — If my treatment 
Disables him, the value shall be paid. 

Xanthias. 
Don't mention it. Remove him and begin. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 49 

Aeacus. 
Thank you, we'll do it here, that you may witness 
Exactly what he says. {To Dionysus) Put down 

your bundle, 
And mind you tell the truth. 

Dionysus 
(who has hitherto been speech/ess with horror^ now burst- 
ing out). 

I warn all present, 
To torture me is an illegal act, 
Being immortal ! And whoever does so 
Must take the consequences. 

Aeacus. 

Why, who are you ? 

Dionysus. 
The immortal Dionysus, son of Zeus ; '-^ 
And this my slave. 

Aeacus {to Xanthias). 

You hear his protest ? 

Xanthias. 

Yes; 
All the more reason, that, for whipping him ; 
If he's a real immortal he won't feel it. 

Dionysus. 
Well, but you claim to be immortal too ; 
They ought to give you just the same as me. 

Xanthias. 
That's fair enough. All right ; whichever of us 
You first find crying, or the least bit minding 
Your whip, you're free to say he's no true god. 

D 



50 EURIPIDES 

Aeacus. 
Sir, you behave like a true gentleman ; 
You come to justice of yourself! — Nov/ then, 
Strip, both. 

Xanthias. 

How will you test us ? 

Aeacus, 

Easily : 
■ifou'll each take whack and whack about. 

Xanthias. 

All right. 
Aeacus [striking Xanthias). 
There. 

Xanthias {controlling himself ivith an effort\ 
Watch now, if you see me even wince. 

Aeacus. 
But I've already hit you ! 

Xanthias. 

I think not. 

Aeacus. 
Upon my word, it looks as if I hadn't. 
Well, now I'll go and whack the other. 

\Strihcs Dionysus. 

Dionysus [also controlling himself). 

When ? 

Aeacus. 
I've done it. 

Dionysus [with an air of indifference). 
Odd, it didn't make me sneeze ! 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 51 

Aeacus. 
It is odd ! — Well, I'll try the first again. 

IHe crosses to Xanthias, 

Xanthias. 
All right. Be quick. {The blow falls) Whe-ew ! 

Aeacus. 

Ah, why " whe-ew " ? 
It didn't hurt you ? 

Xanthias {recovering himself). 

No ; I just was thinking 
When my Diomean Feast would next be due. 

Aeacus. 
A holy thought ! — I'll step across again. 

[Strikes Dionysus, who howls. 

Dionysus. 
Ow-ow ! 

Aeacus. 

What's that ? 

Dionysus {recovering himself). 

I saw some cavalry. 

Aeacus. 
What makes your eyes run ? 

Dionysus. 

There's a smell of onions ! 

Aeacus. 
You're sure it didn't hurt you ? 



52 EURIPIDES 

Dionysus. 

Hurt ? Not it. 

Aeacus. 

I'll step across again then to the first one. 

[^Strikes Xanthias, luho also howls. 

Xanthias. 
Hi-i ! 

Aeacus. 

What is it now ? 

Xanthias. 

Take out that thorn. 
[Pointing to his foot, 
Aeacus. 

What does it mean ? — Over we go again. 

[Strikes Dionysus. 
Dionysus 
(Juirriedly turning his wail into a line of poetry). 

O Lord I . „ . " of Dclos or of Pytho's rock." 

Xanthias {triumphantly'). 
It hurts. You lieard ? 

Dionysus. 

It doesn't ! I was saying 
A verse of old Hipponax to myself. 

Xanthias. 
You're making nothing of it. Hit him hard 
Across the soft parts underneath the ribs. 

Abacus [to Xanthias). 

A good idea ! Turn over on your back ! 

[Stf-ihs him. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 53 

Xanthias {as before). 
O Lord ! 

Dionysus. 

It hurts ! 

Xanthias {as though continuing). 

" Poseidon ruler free 
Of cliffs Aegean and the grey salt sea." 

Aeacus. 
Now, by Demeter, it's beyond my powers 
To tell which one of you's a god ! — Come in ; 
We'll ask my master. He and Persephassa 
Will easily know you, being gods themselves. 

Dionysus. 
Most wisely said. Indeed I could have wished 
You'd thought of that before you had me swished. 

[They all go into the house. The Chorus, left 
alone on the stage^ turns towards the audience. 

Chorus. 
Semi-Chorus I. 

Draw near, O Muse, to the spell of my song. 

Set foot in the sanctified place, 
And see thy faithful Athenians throng, 
To whom the myriad arts belong, 

The myriad marks of grace. 

Greater than Cleophon's own, 

On whose lips, with bilingual moan, 

A swallow from Thrace 

Has taken his place 
And chirps in blood-curdling tone 



54 EURIPIDES 

On the Gibberish Tree's thick branches high 
As he utters a nightingale note, 
A tumultuous cry 
That he's certain to die 
Even with an equal vote ! 



One of the Leaders. 

It behoves this sacred Chorus, in its wisdom and its 

bliss, 
To assist the state with counsel. Now our first 

advice is this : 
Let Athenians all stand equal ; penal laws be swept 

away. 
Some of us have been misguided, following Phrynichus 

astray ; 
Now for all of these, we urge you, let full freedom 

be decreed 
To confess the cause that tripped them and blot out 

that old misdeed. 
Next, no man should live in Athens outcast, robbed 

of every right. 
Shame it is that low-born aliens, just for sharing one 

sea-fight. 
Should forthwith become 'Plataeans' and instead of 

slaves be masters — 
(Not that in the least I blame you for thus meeting 

our disasters ; 
No ; I pay respectful homage to the one wise thing 

you've done) : 
But remember these men also, your own kinsmen, 

sire and son. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 55 

Who have ofttimes fought beside you, spilt their blood 

on many seas : 
Grant for that one fault the pardon which they crave 

you on their knees. 
You whom Nature made for wisdom, let your ven- 
geance fall to sleep ; 
Greet as kinsmen and Athenians, burghers true to 

win and keep, 
Whosoe'er will brave the storms and fight for Athens 

at your side I 
But be sure, if still we spurn them, if we wrap us in 

our pride, 
Stand alone, with Athens tossing in the long arm 

of the waves. 
Men in days to come shall wonder, and not praise 

you in your graves. 

Semi-Chorus II. 

An' I the make of a man may trow. 

And the ways that lead to a fall. 
Not long will the ape that troubles us now. 
Not long little Cleigenes — champion, I vow, 
Of rascally washermen all, 

Who hold over soap their sway 
And lye and Cimolian clay, 

(Which they thriftily mix 

With the scrapings of bricks) — 
Not long will our little one stay ! 
Oh, 'tis well he is warlike and ready to kick 

For if once home from supper he trotted, 
Talking genially thick 
And without his big stick, 

Wc should probably find him garotted. 



56 EURIPIDES 

The Other Leader. 
It has often struck our notice that the course our city 

runs 
Is the same towards men and money. — She has true 

and worthy sons : 
She has good and ancient silver, she has good and 

recent gold. 
These are coins untouched with alloys ; everywhere 

their fame is told ; 
Not all Hellas holds their equal, not all Barbary far 

and near. 
Gold or silver, each well minted, tested each and 

ringing clear. 
Yet, we never use them ! Others always pass from 

hand to hand. 
Sorry brass just struck last week and branded with a 

wretched brand. 
So with men we know for upright, blameless lives ' 

and noble names. 
Trained in music and palaestra, freemen's choirs and 

freemen's games, 
These we spurn for men of brass, for red-haired 

things of unknown breed, 
Rascal cubs of mongrel fathers— them we use at every 

need ! 
Creatures just arrived in Athens, whom our city, 

years ago. 
Scarcely would have used as scapegoats to be slaugh- 
tered for a show ! 
Even now, O race demented, there is time to change 

your ways ; 
Use once more whale's worth the using. If we 'scape, 

the more the praise 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 57 

That we fought our fight with wisdom ; or, if all is 

lost for good, 
Let the tree on which they hang us, be, at least, of 
decent wood ! 



[The door opens^ and the two slaveSy Aeacus and 
r Xanthias, return. 

Abacus. 

By Zeus, that's what I call a gentleman ! 
That master of yours ! 

Xanthias. 

Gentleman ? That he is ! 
There's nothing in his head but wine and wenches ! 

Aeacus. 

But not to whip you when you were clean convicted, 
A slave caught masquerading as his master ! 

Xanthias {significantly). 
I'd like to see him try it ! 

Aeacus. 

There you go ! 
The old slave trick, that I'm so fond of too. 

Xanthias. 
You like it, eh I 

Aeacus. 

Like it ? Why, when I get 
Behind my master's back and quietly curse him, 
I feel just like the BlessW in the Mysteries ! 



58 EURIPIDES 

Xa NTH IAS. 

What about muttering as you go outside 
After a whacking ? 

Aeacus. 

Yes ; I hke that too. 

Xanthias {luith increasing excitement)^ 
And prying into people's secrets, eh ? 

Aeacus {the same). 
By Zeus, there's nothing like it in the world ! 

Xanthias. 

Oh, Zeus makes brethren meet ! — And what of list'ning 

To what the masters sav ? 

Aeacus. 

It makes me mad I 

Xanthias. 
And telling every word of it to strangers ? 

Aeacus. 
Madder than mad, stark staring crimson madder ! 

Xanthias. 

O Lord Apollo, clap your right hand there. 
Give me your cheek to kiss, and you kiss me ! 

[They embrace ; a loud noise is heard inside the 
house. 
But Zeus ! — our own Zeus of the Friendly Jailbirds— 
What is that noise . . . those shouts and quarrelling , . 
Inside ? 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 59 

Abacus. 
That ? Aeschylus and Euripides ! 

Xanthias. 

Eh? 

Abacus. 

Yes ; there's a big business just astir, 
And hot dissension among all the dead. 

Xanthias. 

About what ? 

Abacus. 

There's a law established here 
Concerning all the large and liberal arts, 
Which grants the foremost master in each art 
Free entertainment at the Central Hearth, 
And also a special throne in Pluto's row . . . 

Xanthias. 
Oh, now I understand ! 

Abacus. 

To hold until 
There comes one greater ; then he must make way. 

Xanthias. 
But how has this affected Aeschylus ? , 

Abacus. 
Aeschylus held the throne of tragedy, 

As greatest . . . 

Xanthias. 

Held it ? Why, who holds it now ? 



6o EURIPIDES 

Aeacus. 
Well, when Euripides came down, he gave • 
Free exhibitions to our choicest thieves, 
Footpads, cut-purses, burglars, father-beaters, 
— Of whom we have numbers here j and when they 

heard 
The neat retorts, the fencing, and the twists, 
They all went mad and thought him something 

splendid. 
And he, growing proud, laid hands upon the throne 
Where Aeschylus sat. 

Xanthias. 

And wasn't pelted off? 

Aeacus. 
Not he. The whole folk clamoured for a trial 
To see which most was master of his craft. 

Xanthias. 
The whole jail-folk ? 

Aeacus. 
Exactly ; — loud as trumpets. 

Xanthias. 
And were there none to fight for Aeschylus ? 

Aeacus. 
Goodness is scarce, you know. {Indicating the audi- 
ence) The same as here ! 

Xanthias. 
And what does Pluto mean to do about k ? 

Abacus. 
Why, hold a trial and contest on the spot 
To test their skill for certain. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 6i 

Xanthias [reflecting]. 

But, I say, 
Sophocles surely must have claimed the throne ? 

Aeacus. 
Not he ; as soon as ever he came down, 
He kissed old Aeschylus, and wrung his hand, 
And Aeschylus made room on half his seat. 
And now he means to wait — or so, at least, 
Clidemides informs us — in reserve. 
If Aeschylus wins the day, he'll rest content : 
If not, why then, he says, for poor Art's sake, 
He must show fight against Euripides I 

Xanthias. 
It is to be, then ? 

Aeacus. 

Certainly, quite soon. 
Just where you stand we*'ll have the shock of war. 
They'll weigh the poetry line by line . . . 



Xanthias. 



Poor thing, 



A lamb set in the meat-scale and found wanting ! 

Aeacus. 
They'll bring straight-edges out, and cubit-rules, 
And folded cube-frames . . . 

Xanthias. 

Is it bricks they want ? 

Abacus. 
And mitre-squares and wedges ! Line by line 
Euripides will test all tragedies ! 



62 EURIPIDES 

Xanthias. 
That must make Aeschylus angry, I should think ? 

Aeacus. 
Well, he did stoop and glower like a mad bull. 

Xanthias. 
Who'll be the judge ? 

Abacus. 

That was a difficulty. 
Both found an utter dearth of proper critics ; 
For Aeschylus objected to the Athenians. . . . 

Xanthias. 
Perhaps he thought the jail-folk rather many ? 

Abacus. 
And all the world beside, he thought mere dirt 
At seeing what kind of thing a poet was. 
So, in the end, they fixed upon your master 
As having much experience in the business. 
But come in ; when the master's face looks grave 
There's mostly trouble coming for the slave. 

[They go into the house. 

Chorus 
[the song is a parody of the metre and style <?/" Aeschylus). 

Eftsoons shall dire anger interne be the Thunderer's 
portion 
When his foe's glib tusk fresh whetted for blood he 
descries ; 
Then fell shall his heart be, and mad ; and a pallid 
distortion 

Descend as a cloud on his eyes. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 63 

Yea, words with plumes wild on the wind and with 
helmets a-glancing, 
With axles a-splinter and marble a-shiver, eftsoons 
Shall bleed, as a man meets the shock of a Thought- 
builder's prancing 

Stanzas of dusky dragoons. 

The deep crest of his mane shall uprise as he slowly 
unlimbers 
The long-drawn wrath of his brow, and lets loose 
with a roar 
Epithets welded and screwed, like new torrent-swept 
timbers 

Blown loose by a giant at war. 

Then rises the man of the Mouth ; then battleward 
flashes 
A tester of verses, a smooth and serpentine tongue, 
To dissect each phrase into mincemeat, and argue to 
ashes 

That liigh-towered labour of lung ! 

The door opens again. Enter Euripides, Dionysus, 
atid Aeschylus. 

Euripides. 

Pray, no advice to me ! I won't give way ; 
I claim that I'm more master of my art. 

Dionysus. 
You hear him, Aeschylus. Why don't you speak ? 

Euripides. 
He wants to open with an awful silence — 
The blood-curdling reserve of his first scenes. 



64 EURIPIDES 

Dionysus. 
My dear sir, I must beg ! Control your language. 

Euripides. 

I know him ; I've seen through him years ago ; 
Bard of the " noble savage," wooden-mouthed, 
No door, no bolt, no bridle to his tongue, 
A torrent of pure bombast — tied in bundles ! 

Aeschylus [breaking out). 

How say'st thou, Son o' the goddess of the Greens ? — 
You dare speak thus of me, you phrase-collector, 
Blind-beggar-bard and scum of rifled rag-bags ! 
Oh, you shall rue it ! 

Dionysus. 

Stop 1 Stop, Aeschylus ; 
Strike not thine heart to fire on rancour old. 

Aeschylus, 

No ; I'll expose this crutch-and-cripple playwright. 
And what he's worth for all his insolence. 

Dionysus [to attendants). 

J A lamb, a black lamb, quick, boys 1 Bring it out 
To sacrifice ; a hurricane's let loose ! 

Aeschylus [to Euripides). 

You and your Cretan dancing-solos ! You 
And the ugly amours that you set to verse ! 

Dionysus [Interposing). 

One moment, please, most noble Aeschylus ! 
And you, poor wretch, if you have any prudence, 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 65 

G.et out of the hailstones quick, or else, by Zeus, 
Some word as big as your head will catch you crash 
Behind the ear, and knock out all the . , . Telephus ! 
Nay, Aeschylus, pray, pray control your anger ; 
Examine and submit to be examined 
With a cool head. Two poets should not meet 
In fishwife style ; but here are you, straight oix, 
i\blaze and roaring like an oak on fire. 

Euripides. 
For my part I'm quite ready, with no shrinking, 
To bite first or be bitten, as he pleases. 
Here are my dialogue, music, and construction ; 
Here's Peleus at your service, Meleager, 
And Aeolus, and . . , yes, Telephus, by all means ! 

Dionysus. 
Do you consent to the trial, Aeschylus ? Speak. 

Aeschylus. 
I well might take objection to the place j 
It's no fair field for him and me. 

Dionysus, 

Why not ? 
Aeschylus. 

Because my writings haven't died with me. 

As his have ; so he'll have them all to hand. , , , 

However, I waive the point, if you think fit. 

Dionysus. 
Go, some one, bring me frankincense and fire 
That I may pray for guidance, to decide 
This contest in the Muses' strictest ways ; 
To whom, meantime, uplift your hymn of praise ! 



66 EURIPIDES 

Chorus 
{xvh'tle preparations are made for the sacrifice). 

All hail, ye nine heaven-born virginal Muses, 
Whiche'er of ye watch o'er the manners and uses 

Of the Founts of Quotation, w^hen, meeting in fray — 
All hearts drawn tense for who wins and who loses — 
With wrestling lithe each the other confuses, 
Look on the pair that do battle to-day ! 
These be the men to take poems apart 

By chopping, riving, sawing j 
Here is the ultimate trial of Art 

To due completion drawing ! 

Dionysus. 
Won't you two pray before you show your lines ? 

Aeschyi-US {going up to the altar). 
Demeter, thou who feedest all my thought. 
Grant me but worthiness to worship thee ! 

Dionysus [to Euripides). 
Won't you put on some frankincense ? 

Euripides {staying where he is). 

Oh, thank you ; 
The gods I pray to are of other metal ! 

Dionysus. 
Your own stamp, eh ? New struck ? 

Euripides. 

Exactly so. 
Dionysus. 

Well, pray away then to your own peculiar. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 67 

Euripides. 

Ether, whereon I batten ! Vocal chords ! 
Reason, and nostrils swift to scent and sneer, 
Grant that I duly probe each word I hear. 



~- Chorus. 

All of us to hear are yearning 
Further from these twins of learning, 
What dread road they walk, what burning 

Heights they climb of speech and song. 
Tongues alert for battle savage. 
Tempers keen for war and ravage, 

Angered hearts to both belong. 
He will fight with passes witty 
Smooth and smacking of the city. 

Gleaming blades unfleckcd with rust ; 
He will seize — to end the matter — 
Tree-trunks torn and clubbed, to batter 
Brains to bits, and plunge and scatter 

Whole arena-fulls of dust ! 
[Dionysus is now seated on a throne as judge. 
The poets stand on either side before him. 

Dionysus. 
Now, quick to work. Be sure you both do justice to 

your cases, 
Clear sense, no loose analogies, and no long common- 
places. 

Euripides. 

A little later I will treat my own artistic mettle. 
This person's claims I should prefer immediately to 
settle- 



68 EURIPIDES 

['11 show you how he posed and prosed ; with what 

audacious fooling 
He tricked an audience fresh and green from Phryni- 

chus's schooling. 
Those sole veiled figures on the stage were first 

among his graces, 
Achilles, say, or Niobe, who never showed their faces. 
But stood like so much scene-painting, and never a 

grunt they uttered ! 

Dionysus. 
Why, no, by Zeus, no more they did ! 

Euripides. 

And on the Chorus spluttered 
Through long song-systems, four on end, the actors 
mute as fishes ! 

Dionysus. 
I somehow loved that silence, though ; and felt jt met 

my wishes 
As no one's talk does nowadays ! 

Euripides. 

You hadn't yet seen through it ! 
That's all. 

Dionysus. 

I really think you're right ! But still, 
what made him do it ? 

Euripides. 
The instinct of a charlatan, to keep the audience 

guessing 
If Niobe ever meant to speak — the play meantime 

progressing ! 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 69 

Dionysus. 
Of course it was ! The sly old dog, to think of how 

he tricked us ! — 
Don't {to Aeschylus) ramp and fume ! 

Euripides [excusing Aeschylus). 
We're apt to do so when the facts convict us ! 
— Then after this tomfoolery, the heroine, feeling 

calmer, 
Would utter some twelve wild-bull words, on mid-way 

in the drama, 
Long ones, with crests and beetling brows, and gor- 

gons round the border. 
That no man ever heard on earth. 

Aeschylus. 

The red plague . . . ! 

Dionysus. 

Order, order ! 
Euripides. 

Intelligible — not one line ! 

Dionysus {to Aeschylus). 
Please ! Won't your teeth stop gnashing ? 

Euripides. 
All fosses and Scamander-beds, and bloody 

targes flashing, 
With gryphon-eagles bronze-embossed, and 

crags, and riders reeling. 
Which somehow never quite joined on. 

Dionysus. 
By Zeus, sir, quite my feeling ! 



70 EURIPIDES 

A question comes in Night's long hours, that 

haunts me like a spectre, 
What kind of fish or fowl you'd call a "russet 

hippalector." 

Aeschylus [breaking in). 
It was a ship's sign, idiot, such as every joiner fixes ! 

Dionysus. 
Indeed ! I thought perhaps it meant that music-man 

Eryxis ! 

[Euripides. 
You like then, in a tragic play, a cock ? You think it 

mixes ?] 

Aeschylus {to Euripides). 
And what did you yourself produce, O fool with 

pride deluded ? 

Euripides. 
Not " hippalectors," thank the Lord, nor " tragelaphs," 

as you did — 
The sort of ornament they use to fill a Persian 

curtain ! 
— I had the Drama straight from you, all bloated and 

uncertain, 
Weighed down with rich and heavy words, puffed out 

past comprehension. 
I took the case in hand ; applied treatment for such 

distension — 
Beetroot, light phrases, little walks, hot book-juice, and 

cold reasoning ; 
Then fed her up on solos. . . . 

Dionysus [aside). 
With Cephisophon for seasoning ! 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 71 

Euripides. 
I didn't rave at random, or plunge in and make con- 
j^ fusions. 
'^jVIy first appearing character explained, with due 
allusions. 
The whole play's pedigree^- 

Dionysus {aside). 
Your own you left in wise obscurity ! 

Euripides. 
Then no one from the start with me could idle with 

security. 
They had to work. The men, the slaves, the women, 

all made speeches, 
The kings, the little girls, the hags . . . 

Aeschylus. 
Just see the things he teaches ! 
And shouldn't you be hanged for that ? 

Euripides. 

No, by the lord Apollo ! 
It's democratic ! 

Dionysus [to Euripides). 
That's no road for you, my friend, to follow ; 
You'll find the ' little walk ' too steep ; I recommend 

you quit it. 

Euripides. 

Next, I taught all the tov/n to talk with freedom. 

Aeschylus. 

I admit it. 



72 EURIPIDES 

'Twere better, ere you taught them, you had died 
amid their curses ! 

Euripides. 
I gave them canons to apply and squares for marking 

verses ; 
Taught them to see, think, understand, to scheme for 

vk^hat they w^anted. 
To fall in love, think evil, question all things. . , , 

Aeschylus. 

Granted, granted ! 
Euripides. 

/I put things on the stage that came from daily life and 

business. 
Where men could catch me if I tripped ; could listen 

without dizziness 
To things they knew, and judge my art. 1 never 

crashed and lightened 
And bullied people's senses out ; nor tried to keep 

them frightened 
With Magic Swans and Aethiop knights, loud barb 

and clanging vizor ! 
Then look at my disciples, too, and mark what 

creatures his are ! 
Phormisius is his product and the looby lump 

Megainetus, 
All trumpet, lance, moustache, and glare, who twist 

their clubs of pine at us ; 
While Cleitophon is mine, sirs, and Theramenes the 

Matchless ! 

Dionysus. 

Theramenes ! Ah, that's the man ! All danger 
leaves him scratchless. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 73 

His friends may come to grief, and he be found in 

awkward fixes, 
But always tumbles right end up, not aces — no : all 

sixes ! 

Euripides. 

This was the kind of lore I brought 

To school my town in ways of thought ; 

I mingled reasoning with my art 

And shrewdness, till I fired their heart 

To brood, to think things through and through ; 

And rule their houses better, too. 

Dionysus. 

Yes, by the powers, that's very true J 

No burgher now, who comes indoors, 

But straight looks round the house and roars : 

" Where is the saucepan gone ? And who 

Has bitten that sprat's head away ? 
And, out, alas ! The earthen pot 
I bought last year, is not, is not 1 

Where are the leeks of yesterday ? 

And who has gnawed this olive, pray ? ** 
Whereas, before they took his school, 
Each sat at home, a simple, cool. 
Religious, unsuspecting fool. 

And happy in his sheep-like way! 



Chorus. 
Great Achilles, gaze around thee! 
'Twill astound thee and confound thee. 
Answer now : but keep in bound the 



74 EURIPIDES 

Words that off the course would tear, 
Bit in teeth, in turmoil flocking. 
Yes : it's monstrous — shameful — shocking- 

Brave old warrior. But beware ! 

Don't retort with haste or passion ; 
Meet the squalls in sailor fashion, 

Mainsail reefed and mast nigh bare ; 
Then, when safe beyond disaster 
You may press him fiercer, faster, 
Close and show yourself his master, 

Once the wind is smooth and fair I 



Dionysus. \ 

thou who first of the Greeks did build great words 

to heaven-high towers, 
And the essence of tragedy-padding distilled, give vent 
to thy pent-up showers. 

Aeschylus. 

1 freely admit that I take it amiss, and I think my 

anger is just. 
At having to answer a man like this. Still, lest I 

should seem nonplussed, 
Pray, tell me on what particular ground a poet should 

claim admiration ? 

Euripides. 

If his art is true, and his counsel sound ; and if he 

brings help to the nation. 
By making men better in some respect. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 75 

Aeschylus. 

And suppose you have done the reverse, 
And have had upon good strong men the effect of 

making them weaker and worse, 
What, do you say, should your recompense be ? 

Dionysus. 
The gallows ! You needn't ask him. 

Aeschylus. 
Well, think what they were when he had them from 

me ! Good six-footers, solid of limb. 
Well-born, well-bred, not ready to fly from obeying 

their country's call, 
Nor in latter-day fashion to loiter and lie, and keep 

their consciences small ; 
Their life was in shafts of ash and of elm, in bright 

plumes fluttering wide. 
In lance and greaves and corslet and helm, and hearts 

of seven-fold hide ! 

Euripides {aside). 

Oh, now he's begun and will probably run a whole 

armourer's shop on my head ! 
(To Aeschylus) Stop ! How was it due in especial 

to you, if they were so very — well-bred ? 

Dionysus. 

Come, answer him, Aeschylus ! Don't be so hot, or 
smoulder in silent disdain. 

Aeschylus {crushingly). 
By a tragedy ' brimming with Ares ! * 



76 EURIPIDES 

Dionysus. 

A what ? 
Aeschylus. 

The * Seven against Thebes.* 

Dionysus. 

Pray explain. 
Aeschylus. 

There wasn't a man could see that play but he 
hungered for havoc and gore. 

Dionysus. 
Pm afraid that tells in the opposite way. For the 

Thebans profited more, 
It urged them to fight without flinching or fear, and 

they did so ; and long may you rue it ! 

Aeschylus. 
The same thing was open to all of you here, but it 

didn't amuse you to do it ! 
Then next I taught you for glory to long, and against 

all odds stand fast ; 
That was "The Persians," which bodied in song the 

noblest deed of the past. 

Dionysus. 

Yes, yes ! When Darius arose from the grave it 

gave me genuine joy, 
And the Chorus stood with its arms a-wave, and 

observed, " Yow — oy, Yow — oy ! " 

Aeschylus. 

Yes, that''s the effect for a play to produce ! For 
observe, from the world's first start 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 77 

Those poets have all been of practical use who have 

been supreme in their art. 
First, Orpheus withheld us from bloodshed impure, 

and vouchsafed us the great revelation ; 
Musaeus was next, with wisdom to cure diseases and 

teach divination. 
Then Hesiod showed us the season to plough, to sow, 

and to reap. And the laurels 
That shine upon Homer's celestial brow are equally 

due to his morals ! 
He taught men to stand, to march, and to arm. . . , 

Dionysus. 

So that was old Homer's profession ? 
Then I wish he could keep his successors from harm, 

like Pantacles in the procession. 
Who first got his helmet well strapped on his head, 

and then tried to put in the plume ! 

Aeschylus. 

There be many brave men that he fashioned and bred, 

like Lamachus, now in his tomb. 
And in his great spirit my plays had a part, with their 

heroes many and brave — 
Teucers, Patrocluses, lions at heart ; who made my 

citizens crave 
To dash like them at the face of the foe, and leap at 

the call of a trumpet ! — 
But no Stheneboia I've given you, no ; no Phaedra, 

no heroine-strumpet ! 
If I've once put a woman in love in one act of one 

play, may my teaching be scouted ! 



78 EURIPIDES 

Euripides. 
No, you hadn't exactly the style to attract Aphrodite ! 

Aeschylus. 

I'm better without it. 
A deal too much of that style she found in some of 

your friends and you, 
And once, at the least, left you flat on the ground ! 

Dionysus. 

By Zeus, that's perfectly true. 
If he dealt his neighbours such rattling blows, we 
must think how he suffered in person. 

Euripides. 
And what are the public defects you suppose my poor 
Stheneboia to worsen ? 

Aeschylus {evading the question with a jest). 
She makes good women, and good men's wives, when 

their hearts are weary and want ease, 
Drink jorums of hemlock and finish their lives, to 

gratify Bellerophontes ! 

Euripides. 
But did I invent the story I told of — Phaedra, say ? 
Wasn't it history ? 

Aeschylus. 
It was true, right enough ; but the poet should hold 

such a truth enveloped in mystery. 
And not represent it or make it a play. It's his duty 

to teach, and you know it. 
As a child learns from all who may come in his way, 

so the grown world learns from the poet. 
Oh, words of good counsel should flow from his voice — 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 79 

Euripides. 
And words like Mount Lycabettus 
Or Parnes, such as you give us for choice, must needs 

be good counsel ? — Oh, let us, 
Oh, let us at least use the language of men ! 

Aeschylus. 

Flat cavil, sir ! cavil absurd ! 
When the subject is great and the sentiment, then, of 

necessity, great grows the word ; 
When heroes give range to their hearts, is it strange 

if the speech of them over us towers ? 
Nay, the garb of them too must be gorgeous to view, 

and majestical, nothing like ours. 
All this I saw, and established as law, till you came 

and spoilt it. 

Euripides. 

How so ? 

Aeschylus. 

You wrapped them in rags from old beggarmen's bags, 

to express their heroical woe. 
And reduce the spectator to tears of compassion ! 

Euripides. 
Well, what was the harm if I did ? 

Aeschylus {evading the question as before). 

Bah, your modern rich man has adopted the fashion, 
for remission of taxes to bid ; 

" He couldn't provide a trireme if he tried ; " he im- 
plores us his state to behold. 



8o EURIPIDES 

Dionysus. 

Though rags outside may very well hide good woollens 

beneath, if it's cold ! 
And when once he's exempted, he gaily departs and 

pops up at the Fishmongers"' stalls. 

Aeschylus {continuing). 

Then, next, you have trained in the speechmaking 

arts nigh every infant that crawls. 
Oh, this is the thing that such havoc has wrought in 

the wrestling-school, narrowed the hips 
Of the poor pale chattering children, and taught the 

crews of the pick of the ships 
To answer back pat to their officer's nose ! How 

unlike my old sailor of yore. 
With no thought in his head but to guzzle his brose 

and sing as he bent at the oar ! 

Dionysus. 

And spit on the heads of the rowers below, and garott 

stray lubbers on shore ! 
But our new man just sails where it happens to blow, 

and argues, and rows no more ! 

Aeschylus. 

What hasn't he done that is under the sun, 
And the love-dealing dames that with him have 
begun ? 

One's her own brother's wife ; 

One says Life is not Life ; 
And one goes into shrines to give birth to a son ! 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 8i 

Our city through him is filled to the brim 
With monkeys who chatter to every one's whim ; 
Little scriveners' clerks 
With their winks and their larks, 
But for wrestle or race not a muscle in trim ! 

Dionysus. "*" 

Not a doubt of it ! Why, I laughed fit to cry 
At. the Panathenaea, a man to espy, 

Pale, flabby, and fat, 

And bent double at that. 
Puffing feebly behind, with a tear in his eye ; 

Till there in their place, with cord and with brace, 
Were the Potters assembled to quicken his pace ; 

And down they came, whack ! 

On sides, belly, and back, 
Till he blew out his torch and just fled from the race ! 



Chorus. 
Never were such warriors, never 

Prize so rich and feud so keen : 
Dangerous, too, such knots to sever : 
He drives on with stern endeavour, 
He falls back, but rallies ever, 

Marks his spot and stabs it clean ! 

Change your step, though ! Do not tarry ; 
Other ways there be to harry 

Old antagonists in art. 
Show whatever sparks you carry, 
Question, answer, thrust and parry — 
Be they new or ancient, marry, 

Let them fly, well-winged and smart ! 

F 



82 EURIPIDES 

If you fear, from former cases, 

That the audience p'raps may fail 
To appreciate your paces 
Your allusions and your graces, 
Look a moment in their faces ! 
They will tell another tale. 

Oft from long campaigns returning 
Thro' the devious roads of learning 

These have wandered, books in hand 
Nature gave them keen discerning 
Eyes ; and you have set them burning ! 
Sharpest thought or deepest yearning — 

Speak, and these will understand. 



Euripides. 
Quite so ; I'll turn then to his Prologues straight, 
And make in that first part of tragedy 
My first review in detail of this Genius ! 
[His exposition always was obscure.] 

Dionysus. 
Which one will you examine ! 

Euripides. 

Which ? Oh, lots ! 
First quote me that from the Oresteia, please. 

Dionysus. 
Ho, silence in the court 1 Speak, Aeschylus. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 83 

Aeschylus {quoting the first lines of the Choephoroi). 
" Guide of the Dead, warding a father's way, 
Be thou my light and saviour, where I pray, 
In this my fatherland, returned, restored." 

Dionysus {to Euripides). 
You find some false lines there ? 

Euripides. 

About a dozen ! 

Dionysus. 

Why, altogether there arc only three ! 

Euripides. 
But every one has twenty faults in drawing ! 

[Aeschylus begins ta interrupt, 

Dionysus. 
No, stop, stop, Aeschylus ; or perhaps you'll find 
Your debts run up to more than three iambics. 

Aeschylus [raging). 
Stop to let him speak ? 

Dionysus. 

Well, that''s my advice. 

Euripides. 
He's gone straight off some thousand miles astray. 

Aeschylus. 

Of course it's foolery — but what do / care ? 
Point out the faults. 



84 EURIPIDES 

Euripides. 
Repeat the lines again. 

Aeschylus. 
" Guide of the Dead, warding a father's way, ..." 

Euripides. 
Orestes speaks those words, I take it, standing 
On his dead father's tomb ? 

Aeschylus. 

I don't deny it. 

Euripides. 
Then what's the father's way that Hermes wards ? 
Is it the way Orestes' father went, 
To darkness by a woman's dark intent? 

Aeschylus. 
No, no ! He calls on Eriounian Hermes, 
Guide of the Dead, and adds a word to say 
That office is derived from HermesV father. 

Euripides. 
That's worse than I supposed ! For if your Hermes 
Derives his care of dead men from his father, . . . 

Dionysus [interrupting). 
Why, resurrectioning's the family trade ! 

Aeschylus. 
Dionysus, dull of fragrance is thy wine! 

Dionysus. 
Well, say the next ; and {to Euripides) you look out 
for slips. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 85 

Aeschylus. 

" Be thou my light and saviour where I pray 
In this my fatherland returned, restored." 

Euripides. 
Our noble Aeschylus repeats himself. 

Dionysus. 
How so ? 

Euripides. 

Observe his phrasing, and you'll see. 
First to this land " returned " and then " restored " ; 
* Returned' is just the same thing as 'restored.' 

Dionysus. 
Why, yes ! It's just as if you asked your neighbour, 
' Lend me a pail, or, if not that, a bucket.' 

Aeschylus. 

Oh, too much talking has bemuzzed your brain ! 
The words are not the same ; the Hne is perfect. ' 

Dionysus. 
Now, is it really ? Tell me how you mean. 

Aeschylus. 

Returning home is the act of any person 

Who has a home.; he comes back, nothing more ; 

An exile both returns and is restored ! 

Dionysus. 

True, by Apollo ! {To Euripides) What do you say 
to that ? 



86 EURIPIDES 

Euripides. 

I don't admit Orestes was restored. 

He came in secret with no legal permit. 

Dionysus. 
By Hermes, yes ! {aside) I wonder what they mean ! 

Euripides. 
Go on then to the next. [Aeschylus is silent. 

Dionysus. 

Come, Aeschylus, 
Do as he says : {to Euripides) and you look out for 
faults. 

Aeschylus. 

" Yea, on this bank of death, I call my lord 
To hear and list. ..." 

Euripides. 

Another repetition ! 
" To hear and list " — the same thing palpably ! 

Dionysus. 

The man was talking to the dead, you dog. 
Who are always called three times — and then don't 
hear. 

Aeschylus. 

Come, how did you write prologues ? 

Euripides, 

Oh, I'll show you. 
And if you find there any repetitions 
Or any irrelevant padding, — spit upon me ! 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 87 

Dionysus. 

Oh, do begin. I mustn't miss those prologues 
In all their exquisite exactitude ! 

Euripides. 
"At first was Oedipus in happy state." 

Aeschylus. 

He wasn't ! He was born and bred in misery. 
Did not Apollo doom him still unborn 
To slay his father ? . . .' 

Dionysus {aside). 

His poor unborn father ? ' 

Aeschylus. 
" A happy state at first," you call it, do you ? 

Euripides (contemptuous /y resuming). 

"At first was Oedipus in happy state. 

Then changed he, and became most desolate." 

Aeschylus. 

He didn't. He was never anything else ! 

Why, he was scarcely born when they exposed him 

In winter, in a pot, that he might never 

Grow up arid be his father's murderer. 

Then off he crawled to Polybus with sore feet. 

Then married an old woman, twice his age. 

Who further chanced to be his mother, then 

Tore out his eyes : the lucky dog he was ! 



88 EURIPIDES 

Dionysus. 

At least he fought no sea-fight with a colleague 
Called Erasinides ! 

Euripides. 

That's no criticism. 
I write my prologues singularly well ! 

Aeschylus. 

By Zeus, I won't go pecking word by word 
At every phrase ; I'll take one little oil-can, 
God helping me, and send your prologues pop ! 

Euripides. 
My prologues pop . . . with oil-cans ? 

Aeschylus, 

Just one oil-can ! 
You write them so that nothing comes amiss, 
The bed-quilt, or the oil-can, or the clothes-bag, 
All suit your tragic verse ! Wait and I'll prove it. 

Euripides. 
You'll prove it ? Really ? 

Aeschylus. 
Yes. 

Dionysus. 



Euripides. 



Begin to quote. 



" Aegyptus, so the tale is spread afar. 
With fifty youths fled in a sea-borne car, 
But, reaching Argos ..." 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 89 

Aeschylus. 

Found his oil-can gone ! 

Dionysus. 
What's that about the oil-can ! Drat the thing ! 
Quote him another prologue, and let's see. 

Euripides. 
" Dionysus, who with wand and fawn-skin dight 
On great Parnassus races in the light 
Of lamps far-flashing, ..." 

Aeschylus. 

Found his oil-can gone ! 

Dionysus. 
Alas! again the oil-can finds our heart! 

Euripides {beghming to reflect anxiously). 
Oh, it won't come to much, though ! Here's another, 
With not a crack to stick the oil-can in ! 
" No man hath bliss in full and flawless health ; 
Lo, this one hath high race, but little wealth ; 
That, base in blood, hath ..." 

Aeschylus. 

Found his oil-can gone ! 

Dionysus. 
Euripides ! 

Euripides. 
Well ? 

Dionysus. 

Better furl your sails ; 
This oil-can seems inclined to raise the wind ! 



90 EURIPIDES 

Euripides. 

Bah, I disdain to give a thought to it ! 
I'll dash it from his hands in half a minute. 

[^He racks his memory. 

Dionysus. 
Well, quote another ; — and beware of oil-cans. 

Euripides. 

" Great Cadmus long ago, Agenor's son, 
From Sidon racing, ..." 

Aeschylus. 

Found his oil-can gone ! 

Dionysus. 

Oh, this is awful ! Buy the thing outright, 
Before it messes every blessed prologue 1 

Euripides. 
I buy him oif ? 

Dionysus. 

I strongly recommend it. 

Euripides. 

No ; I have many prologues yet to cite 
Where he can't find a chink to pour his oil, 
" As rapid wheels to Pisa bore him on, 
Tantalian Pelops ..." 

Aeschylus. 

Found his oil-can gone ! 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 91 

Dionysus. 

What did I tell you ? There it sticks again ! 
You might let Pelops have a new one, though — ■ 
You get quite good ones very cheap just now, 

Euripides. 

By Zeus, not yet ! I still have plenty left, 
"From earth King Oineus, ..." 

Aeschylus, 

Found his oil-can gone ! 

Euripides, 

You must first let me quote one line entire ! 
"From earth King Oineus goodly harvest won. 
But, while he worshipped, ..." 

Aeschylus. 

Found his oil-can gone ! 

Dionysus. 
During the prayers ! Who can have been the thief! 

Euripides {desperately). 

Oh, let him be ! I defy him answer this — 
" Great Zeus in heaven, the word of truth has 
flown, ..." 

Dionysus. 

O mercy ! His is certain to be gone ! 
They bristle with long oil-cans, hedgehog-wise. 
Your prologues ; they're as bunged up as your eyes ! 
For God's sake change the subject. — Take his songs ! 



92 EURIPIDES 

Euripides. 
Songs ? Yes, I have materials to show 
How bad his are, and always all alike. 

Chorus. 
What in the world shall we look for next ? 
Aeschylus' music ! I feel perplexed 

How he can want it mended. 
I have always held that never a man 
Had written or sung since the world began 

Melodies half so splendid ! 
(Can he really find a mistake 

In the master of inspiration ? 

I feel some consternation 
For our Bacchic prince's sake !) 



Euripides. 
Wonderful songs they are ! You'll sec directly ; 
I'll run them all together into one. 

Dionysus. 
ni take some pebbles, then, and count for you. 

Euripides {singing). 
" O Phthian Achilles, canst hark to the battle's man- 
slaying shock. 

Yea, shock, and not to succour come ? 
Lo, we of the Mere give worship to Hermes, the 
fount of our stock, 

Yea, shock, and not to succour come ! " 

Dionysus. 
Two shocks to you, Aeschylus, there ! 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 93 

Euripides. 
"Thou choice of Achaia, wide-ruling Atrides, give 
heed to my schooling ! 

Yea, shock, and not to succour come." 

Dionysus. 
A third shock that, I declare ! 

Euripides. 
" Ah, peace, and give ear ! For the Bee-Maids be 
near to ope wide Artemis' portals. 
Yea, shock-a-nock a-succour come ! 
Behold it is mine to sing of the sign of the way fate- 
laden to mortals ; 

Yah, shocker-knocker succucum 1 " 

Dionysus. 

Zeus Almighty, what a chain of shocks ! 

1 think I'll go away and take a bath ; 

The shocks are too much for my nerves and kidneys ! 

Euripides. 
Not till you've heard another little set 
Compounded from his various cithara-songs. 

Dionysus. 
Well then, proceed ; but don't put any shocks in ! 

Euripides. 
" How the might twin-throned of Achaia for Hellene 
chivalry bringeth 

Flattothrat toflattothrat ! 
The prince of the powers of storm, the Sphinx there- 
over he wingeth 

Flattothrat toflattothrat ! 



94 EURIPIDES 

With deedful hand and lance the furious fowl of the air 

Flattothrat toflattothrat ! 
That the wild wind-walking hounds unhindered tear 

Flattothrat toflattothrat ! 
And War toward Aias leaned his weight, 

Flattothrat toflattothrait ! " 

Dionysus. 
What's Flattothrat ? Was it from Marathon 
You gathered this wool-gatherer's stuff, or where ? 

Aeschylus, 
Clean was the place I found them, clean the place 
I brought them, loath to glean with Phrynichus 
The same enchanted meadow of the Muse. 
But any place will do for him to poach, 
Drink-ditties of Meletus, Carian pipings, 
And wakes, and dancing songs. — Here, let me show 

you ! 
Ho, some one bring my lyre ! But no ; what need 
Of lyres for this stuff? Where's the wench that plays 
The bones ? — Approach, Euripidean Muse, 
These songs are meet for your accompaniment ! 

Dionysus. 
This Muse was once ... no Lesbian ; not at all ! 

Aeschylus [singing). 

" Ye halcyons by the dancing sea 
Who babble everlastingly, 

While on your bathing pinions fall 
The dewy foam-sprays, fresh and free ; 
And, oh, ye spiders deft to crawl 
In many a chink of roof and wall, 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 95 

While left and right, before, behind, 

Your fingers wi-i-i-i-ind 

The treasures of the labouring loom, 

Fruit of the shuttle's minstrel mind, 

Where many a songful dolphin trips 

To lead the dark-blue-bealcM ships, 
And tosses with aerial touch 
Temples and race-courses and such. 

O bright grape tendril's essence pure, 

Wine to sweep care from human lips ; 

Grant me, O child, one arm-pressure ! " 

[^Breaking off. 

That foot, you see ? 

Dionysus. 
I do. 



Aeschylus. 



And he? 



Euripides. 
Of course I see the foot ! 

Aeschylus. 

And this is the stuff to trial you bring 
And face my songs with the kind of thing 
That a man might sing When he dances a fling 
To mad Gyrene's flute ! 

There, that's your choral stuff! But I've not 

finished, 
I want to show the spirit of his solos ! 



96 EURIPIDES 

[Sings again ; mysteriously. 

"What vision of dreaming, 
Thou fire-hearted Night, 
Death's minion dark-gleaming, 
Hast thou sent in thy might ? 
And his soul was no soul, and the Murk was his 
mother, a horror to sight ! 

Black dead was his robe, and his eyes 

All blood, and the claws of him great ; 
Ye maidens, strike fire and arise ; 
Take pails to the well by the gate. 
Yea, bring me a cruse of hot water, to wash off this 
vision of fate. 

Thou Sprite of the Sea, 
It is e'en as I feared ! 
Fellow-lodgers of me. 

What dread thing hath appeared ? 
Lo, Glyke hath stolen my cock, and away from the 
neighbourhood cleared ! 

[JFildly. 

(Ye Nymphs of the Mountain give aid ! 
And what's cocne to the scullery-maid ? ) 

\Tea7-fHUy. 
And I — ah, would I were dead ! — 

To my work had given my mind ; 
A spindle heavy with thread 
My hands did wi-i-i-ind. 
And I meant to go early to market, a suitable buyer 
to find ! 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 



97 



[^Almost weeping. 
— But he rose, rose, in the air 
On quivering blades of flight ; 
He left me care, care ; 
And tears, tears of despair. 
Fell, fell, and dimmed my sight ! 

[^Recovering himself ; in florid^ tragic style. 

Children of Ida's snows, 

Cretans, take up your bows. 
And ring the house with many a leaping limb ! 

And thou, fair maid of bliss, 

Dictynna, Artemis, 
Range with thy bandogs through each corner dim ; 

Yea, Thou of twofold Fires, 

Grant me my deep desires, 
Thou Zeus-born Hecate ; in all men's eyes 

Let the detective sheen 

Flashed from thy torches keen. 
Light me to Glyke's house, and tjhat lost fowl surprise ! " 

Dionysus. 
Come, stop the singing ! 

Aeschylus. 

I've had quite enough ! 
What I want is to bring him to the balance ; 
The one sure test of what our art is worth ! 

Dionysus. 

So that's my business next ? Come forward, please ; 
I'll weigh out poetry like so much cheese ! 

G 



98 EURIPIDES 

A large pair of scales is brought forward ^ while the 
Chorus sing. 

Chorus. 
Oh, the workings of genius are keen and laborious ! 
Here's a new wonder, incredible, glorious ! 

Who but this twain Have the boldness of brain 
To so quaint an invention to run ? 
Such a marvellous thing, if another had said it had 
Happened to him, I should never have credited ; 
I should have just Thought that he must 
Simply be talking for fun ! 



Dionysus. 
Come, take your places by the balance. 

Aeschylus and Euripides. 

There ! 
Dionysus. 

Now, each take hold of it, and speak your verse. 
And don't let go until I say " Cuckoo." 

Aeschylus and Euripides 
[taking their stand at either side of the balance). 

We have it. 

Dionysus. 

Now, each a verse into the scale ! 

Euripides [quoting the first verse of his ^^ Medea""), 
" Would God no Argo e'er had winged the brine." 

Aeschylus [quoting his ^^ Philoctctes''), 
"Spercheios, and ye haunts of grazing kine ! 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 99 

Dionysus. 

Cuckoo ! Let go. — Ah, down comes Aeschylus / /^/'' 
Far lower. 

Euripides. 

Why, what can be the explanation ? 

Dionysus. 

That river he put in, to wet his wares 

The way wool-dealers do, and make them heavier ! 

Besides, you know, the verse you gave had wings ! 

Aeschylus. 
Well, let him speak another and we'll see. 

Dionysus. 
Take hold again then. 

Aeschylus and Euripides. 
There you are. 

Dionysus. 

Now speak 

Euripides [quoting his '■^Antigone "). 
" Persuasion, save in speech, no temple hath." 

Aeschylus [quoting his " Niobe "). 
" Lo, one god craves no offering, even Death." 

Dionysus. 
Let go, let go ! 



Euripides. 
Why, his goes down again ! 'Y-' 



••'X 



100 EURIPIDES 

Dionysus. 
He put in Death, a monstrous heavy thing ! 

Euripides. 
But my Persuasion made a lovely line ! 

Dionysus. 
Persuasion has no bulk and not much weight. 
Do look about you for some ponderous line 
To force the scale down, something large and strong. 

Euripides. 
Where have I such a thing, now ? Where ? 

Dionysus 
[mischievously^ quoting some unknown play of Euripides). 

I'll tell you ; 
"Achilles has two aces and a four!" — 
[Aloud) Come, speak your lines ; this is the final bout. 

Euripides [quoting his " Meleager "). 
" A mace of weighted iron his right hand sped." 

Aeschylus [quoting his " Glaucus "). 
" Chariot on chariot lay, dead piled on dead. 

Dionysus [as the scale turns). 
He beats you this time too ! 

EuR-IPIDES. 

How does he do it ? 

Dionysus. 
Two chariots and two corpses in the scale — 
Why, ten Egyptians couldn't lift so much ! 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS loi 

Aeschylus [breaking out). 

Come, no more line-for-Hnes ! Let him jump in 
And sit in the scale himself, with all his books, 
His wife, his children, his Cephisophon ! 
I'll back two lines of mine against the lot ! 

The central door opens and Pluto with his suite comes 
forth. 

A Voice. 
Room for the King ! 

Pluto {to Dionysus). 

Well, is the strife decided ? 

Dionysus {to Pluto). 

I won't decide ! The men are both my friends j 
Why should I make an enemy of either ? 
The one's so good, and I so love the other ! 

Pluto. 
In that case you must give up all you came for J 

Dionysus. 
And if I do decide ? 

Pluto. 

Why, not to make 
Your trouble fruitless, you may take away 
Whichever you decide for. 

Dionysus. 

Hearty thanks ! 
Now, both, approach, and I'll explain. — I came 
Down here to fetch a poet : " Why a poet ? " 
That his advice may guide the City true 



102 EURIPIDES 

And so keep up my worship ! Consequently, 
I'll take whichever seems the best adviser. 
Advise me first of Alcibiades, 
Whose birth gives travail still to mother Athens. 

Pluto. 
What is her disposition towards him ? 

Dionysus. 

Well, 
She loves and hates, and longs still to possess. 
I want the views of both upon that question I 

Euripides. 
Out on the burgher, who to serve his state 
Is slow, but swift to do her deadly hate, 
With much wit for himself, and none for her, 

Dionysus. 
Good, by Poseidon, that 1 — And what say you ? 

[To Aeschylus. 
Aeschylus. 

No lion's whelp within thy precincts raise j 
But, if it be there, bend thee to its ways ! 

Dionysus. 
By Zeus the Saviour, still I can't decide ! 
The one so fine, and the other so convincing ! 
Well, I must ask you both for one more judgment ; 
What steps do you advise to save our country ? 

Euripides. 
I know and am prepared to say 1 

Dionysus. 

Say on. 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 103 

Euripides. 
Where Mistrust now has sway, put Trust to dwell. 
And where Trust is, Mistrust ; and all is well. 

Dionysus. 
I don't quite follow. Please say that again, 
Not quite so cleverly and rather plainer. 

Euripides. 
If we count all the men whom now we trust, 
Suspect ; and call on those whom now we spurn 
To serve us, we may find deliverance yet. 

Dionysus. 
And what say you ? 

Aeschylus, 

First tell me about the City ; 
What servants does she choose ? The good ? 

Dionysus. 

Great Heavens, 
She loathes them ! 

Aeschylus. 

And takes pleasure in the vile ? 

Dionysus. 
Not she, but has perforce to let them serve her ! 

Aeschylus. 
What hope of comfort is there for a City 
That quarrels with her silk and hates her hodden ? 

Dionysus. 
That's just what you must answer, if you want 
To rise agam 1 



104 EURIPIDES 

Aeschylus. 
I'll answer there, not here. 

Dionysus. 
No ; better send up blessing from below. 

Aeschylus. 

Her safety is to count her enemy's land 
Her own, yea, and her own her enemy's ; 
Her ships her treasures, and her treasure dross ! 

Dionysus. 
Good ; — though it all goes down the juror's throat ! 

Pluto [interrupting). 
Come, give your judgment ! 

Dionysus. 

Well, I'll judge like this ; 
My choice shall fall on him my soul desires! 

Euripides. 

Remember all the gods by whom you swore 

To take me home with you, and choose your friend ! 

Dionysus. 
My tongue hath sworn; — but I'llchoose Aeschylus I 

Euripides. 
What have you done, you traitor ? 

Dionysus. 

I ? I've judged 
That Aeschylus gets the prize. Why shouldn't I ? 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 105 

Euripides. 
Canst meet mine eyes, fresh from thy deed of 

shame ? 

Dionysus. 

What is shame, that the . . . Theatre deems no 
shame ? 

Euripides. 

Hard heart ! You mean to leave your old friend dead ? 

Dionysus. 
Who knoweth if to live is but to die? . . . 
If breath is bread and sleep a woolly lie I 

Pluto. 
Come in, then, both. 

Dionysus. 

Again ? 

Pluto. 

To feast with me 
Before you sail. 

Dionysus. 

With pleasure ! That's the way 
Duly to crown a well-contented day ! 



Chorus. 
O blessed are they who possess 

An extra share of brains I 
*Tis a fact that more or less 
All fortunes of men express ; 
As now, by showing 
An intellect glowing, 



io6 EURIPIDES 

This man his home regains ; 
Brings benefit far and near 
To all who may hold him dear, 
And staunches his country's tear,- 

All because of his brains ! 

Then never with Socrates 

Make one of the row of fools 
Who gabble away at ease, 
Letting art and music freeze, 
And freely neglect 
In every respect 
The drama's principal rules ! 
Oh, to sit in a gloomy herd 
A-scraping of word on word, 
All idle and all absurd, — 
That is the fate of fools I 



Pluto. 

Then farewell, Aeschylus 1 Go your ways, 
And save your town for happier days 
By counsel wise ; and a school prepare 
For all the fools — there are plenty there ! 
And take me some parcels, I pray ; this sword 
Is for Cleophon ; these pretty ropes for the Board 
Of Providers. But ask them one halter to spare 
For Nicomachus ; one, too, is Myrmex's share. 

And, along with this venomous 

Draught for Archenomus, 

Take them my confident prayer, 



ARISTOPHANES' FROGS 107 

That they all will come here for a visit, and stay. 
And bid them be quick ; for, should they delay, 
Or meet my request with ingratitude, say 

I will fetch them myself, by Apollo ! 
And hurry the gang of them down with. a run 
All branded and chained — with Leucolophus' son 

The sublime Adimantus to follow ! 

Aeschylus. 
I will do as you wish. — And as for my throne, 
I beg you let Sophocles sit there alone, 
On guard, till perchance I return some day ; 
For he — all present may mark what I say — 

Is my Second in art and in wit. » 
And see, above all, that this Devil-may-care 
Child of deceit with his mountebank air 
Shall never on that imperial chair 

By the wildest of accidents sit ! 

Pluto. 

With holy torches in high display 

Light ye the Marchers'itriumphal advance ; 

Let Aeschylus' music on Aeschylus' way 
Echo in song and in dance I 

Chorus. 
Peace go with him and joy in his journeying ! Guide 

ye our poet 
Forth to the light, ye Powers that reign in the Earth 

and below it ; 
Send good thoughts with him, too, for the aid of a 

travailing nation. 
So shall we rest at the last, and forget our long 

desolation, 



io8 EURIPIDES 

War and the clashing of wrong. — And for Cleophon, 

why, if he'd rather, 
Let him fight all alone with his friends, in the far-ofiF 

fields of his father. 

[They all go off in a procession^ escorting Aeschylus. 



COMMENTARY ON THE FROGS 

P. 3, 1. 1, Xanthias.] — A common slave's name 
from Xanthus, the chief town of Lycia, or possibly 
from ^avOb^y "auburn," "red-headed." Northern 
slaves were common. 

P. 4, 11. 14, 16, Phrynichus, Ameipsias, Lykis.] — 
Contemporary comic poets. Phrynichus was com- 
peting with his " Muses " against Aristophanes on the 
present occasion, and won the second prize. Ameipsias' 
Connos won the first prize over the Clouds, and his 
Revellers over the Birds. 

P. 6, 1. 33, Why wasn't I on board at Argin- 
usae ?] — All slaves who fought in that battle had been 
set free. It and its consequences loom so large in The 
Frogs that it is desirable to give some account of them. 
It was a great victory. Seventy Spartan ships were 
destroyed and the admiral, Callicratidas, slain. But it 
was not properly followed up, and it was dearly bought 
by the loss of twenty-five triremes, with nearly the 
whole of their crews, amounting to about five thousand 
men. It was believed that with more care many of 
these men might have been saved, and most oi the 
dead bodies collected for burial. The generals were 
summoned home for trial for this negligence. They 
pleaded bad weather, and also that, they had given 
orders to the trierarchs (or captains) to see to recover- 
ing the men overboard. The trierarchs were thus 



no EURIPIDES 

forced in self-defence to throw over the generals, and 
it happened that they had among them the famous 
orator and " Moderate " pohtician, Theramenes. He, 
naturally, led the case for his fellow-trierarchs, and 
succeeded in showing that the order to see to the 
shipwrecked men was sent out much too late, after 
the storm had arisen. A coincidence intensified the 
general emotion. The Feast of the Apaturia, de- 
voted to family observances and the tics of kindred, 
chanced to occur at the time of the trial. Whole 
kindreds were seen in mourning. (It was rumoured 
afterwards that impostors were hired by the enemies 
of the generals to go about in black, wailing for 
imaginary relatives — like Sebinus below (p, 36) — 
" floating unburied on the waves ! ") The generals 
were condemned, and six of them, including Erasinides 
(p. 88), executed. Theramenes "came off scratch- 
less " (p. 72), except in reputation. 

P. 7, 1. 48, Cleisthenes.] — Noted for his effemi- 
nate good looks. He may or may not have been in 
command of a ship. 

P- 7> ^' 53) The Andromeda.'] — Molon was a very 
tall actor who performed in it. 

P. 9, 1. 64, Seest then the sudden truth.]— From 
Euripides' Hypsipyle. Acted 411-409. 

P. 9, I. 72, For most be dead, &c.] — From Euri- 
pides' Oineus. 

P. 9, 1. 73, lophon.] — Son of Sophocles. Fifty 
plays are attributed to him by Suidas, among others a 
Bacchae or Pentheus^ from which we have the frag- 
ment : " This I understand, woman though I be ; that 
the more man seeketh to know the Gods' mysteries, 
the more shall he miss knowledge." He won the 



COMMENTARY ON THE FROGS iii 

second prize in 428, when the Hippolytus obtained 
the first. 

P. 10, 1. 83, Agathon.] — The much-praised tragic 
poet, for whose first victory in B.C. 416 the " Symposium " 
of Plato's dialogue professes to be held. He left Athens 
" to feast with peaceful KingSy^ i.e. with Archelaus of 
Macedon, in B.C. 407, at the age of forty, immediately 
after Aristophanes' attack on him in the Gerytades^ and 
before his influence had established itself on Athenian 
tragedy. He is a butt in the Thesmophoriazusae also. 

P. 10, 1. 86, Xenocles.] — Son of Carcinus. No 
critic has a good word for him, though he won the 
first prize in 415 over Euripides' Troades. He is 
nicknamed "The Dwarf," " Datis the Mede," and 
" Pack-o'-tricks " (S&)Se«:ayLf)7%at'o?). One line of his 
seems to be preserved, from the Licy?nnius — 

" bitter fatey O fortune edged with gold." 

P. 10, 1. 87, Pythangelus.] — Nothing whatever 
is known of this man except the shrug of Dionysus'* 
shoulders. And that has carried his name to 2500 
years of " immortality " ! 

P. II, 1. 89, Other pretty fellows.] — Among them 
would be Plato. Other celebrated men of this time 
who in their youth tried writing tragedies were 
Antiphon, Meletus the accuser of Socrates, Critias the 
Oligarch, and Theognis his colleague, Dionysius the 
tyrant of Syracuse ; later, Crates the philosopher, and 
perhaps the great Diogenes. 

P. II, 1. 100, O holy Ether.] — "I swear by the 
holy Ether, home of God," from Euripides' Melanippe 
the Wise. 

P. II, 1. 100, Foot of Time.]— The phrase occurs 



"2 EURIPIDES 

very boldly in Bacchae^ 888 (translated " stride "), but 
that play was not yet published. Euripides had said, 
"On stepped the foot of Time," in the Alexandras^ 
acted B.C. 415. 

P. II, 1. 1 01, Souls that won't take oaths, while 
tongues, &c.] — See Hippolytus^ 612 (p. 33). The fre- 
quent misrepresentations of this line are very glaring, 
even for Aristophanes. Cf. Frogs^ 147 i, Thesm. 275 ; 
also Plato, Thcaet. I54d, and Symp. 199a, who, however, 
refers to the phrase sympathetically. 

P. II, 1. 105, Ride not upon my soul.] — The 
source of this quotation is not known. 

P. 13, 1. 124, The hemlock way.] — The ordinary 
form of capital punishment at Athens was poisoning 
with hemlock. Socrates in the Phaedo describes the 
gradual chilling of his body after drinking it. 

P. 13, 1. 129, Cerameicus.] — The Potter's Quarter 
of Athens. The " great tower " is probably that built 
by Timon the Misanthrope in this quarter. It would 
command a view, for instance, of the torch races at 
the feasts of Prometheus and Hephaestus, and at the 
Panathenaea, which ran " from the Academy to the 
City through the Kerameicus " (Pausanias, I. xxx. 2, 
with Frazer's note). 

P. 14, 1. 139, For two obols.] — Two obols con- 
stituted the price of a day's work as legally recognised 
by the early Athenian democracy. It was the pay- 
ment made for attendance at the Jury Courts, and 
distributed to poor citizens to enable them to attend 
festivals. Hence it was also the price of entry to the 
theatre. It was probably also the original payment 
for attendance at the Ecclesia, or serving in garrison, 
or on ship-board, in cases where payment was not 



COMMENTARY ON THE FROGS 113 

made in rations. The payments were greatly altered 
and increased (owing to the rise in prices) during the 
war and the fourth century. 

Charon traditionally took one obol, the copper coin 
which was put in the dead man's mouth. But 
Theseus, the fountain-head of the Athenian con- 
stitution, has introduced the Two-obol System in 
Hades ! 

P. 15, 1. 151, Morsimus.] — Son of Philocles and 
grand-nephew of Aeschylus, was a doctor as well as 
a tragic poet. No one has a good word for his poetry, 
and no fragments — except one conjectural half line — 
exist. 

P. 15, 1. 153, Kinesias.] — A dithyrambic poet of 
the new and florid school of music, from whom Aris- 
tophanes can never long keep his hands. He had 
frail health and thin legs ; and you could not " tell 
right from left" in his music. The parodies of his 
style in the Birds are rather charming. Plato de- 
nounces him and his music in the Gorgias (50 1 e). But 
it is interesting to observe that he was the author of 
a law reducing the extravagance and sumptuousness 
of choric performances — which does not look like 
"corrupt" art. 

P. 16, 1. 158, The Initiated.] — Persons initiated 
in the Eleusinian Mysteries, as in those of Orpheus 
and others, had their sins washed away, saw a great 
light not vouchsafed to other eyes, and had eternal 
bliss after death. 

P. 16, 1. 159, The donkey, holiday-making.] — 
Much as a costermonger's donkey with us celebrates 
its master's Bank Holiday by extra laboiu". 

P. 18, 11. 186 f., Lethe and Sparta and the rest of 

H 



114 EURIPIDES 

Hell.] — I suspect that in Ai]9ri<:; ireBiov, bvov Tro/ca?, 
Tacvapov, we have a reference to a proposal, by some 
member of the war party, to take the offensive against 
Sparta by sailing round the Laconian coast — as Tol- 
mides had done — and landing at AevKi]'; ireBlov, ovov 
<yi'ddo<i (Strabo, 8, 363), and Taivapov. 

P. 19, 1. 191, The battle of the Cold Meat Unpre- 
served.] — Arginusae, see above, p. 109. Ophthalmia 
seems to have been a common cause of disablement 
or malingering in Greek soldiers. See Hdt. vii. 229. 

P. 26, 1. 282, What is so flown with pride] — "as 
man's weak heart ?" So says Odysseus of himself in 
the opening of Euripides' Philoctetcs. 

P. 27, 1. 293, Empusa.] — A vague phantom ap- 
pearing in dark places, whose chief characteristic was 
to be constantly changing, so that whenever you 
looked it seemed different. Like other phantoms, she 
was sent by Hecate. Aeschines' mother was so nick- 
named (Dem. xviii. 130) as being (i) changeable, 
always devoted to some new religion ; (2) associated 
with uncanny mysteries. 

P. 28, I. 303, Hegelochus.] — An actor who per- 
formed the hero's part in Euripides' Orestes, B.C. 408. 
He ought to have said, " I catch a tale of peace." 
He seems to have pronounced ryaXrjv opw, in Orestes^ 
V. 279, so that it sounded like 'yaXrjv opSi, "I see a 
weasel." We hear much of this slip. See Sannyrion, 
fr. 8, and Strattis, fr. i and 60. 

P. 29, 1. 3 1 1 , Parlour of God.] — See on p. 1 1 , 1. 1 00. 

P. 30, 1. 320, Diagoras.] — Diagoras of Melos, nick- 
named "the atheist," who was condemned to death 
for his attack on the Mysteries, but happily escaped to 
Pellene and the Peloponnese. 



COMMENTARY ON THE FROGS 115 

P. 31, 1. 338, Roasting pig.] — Pigs were sacrificed 
before the Mysteries. Cf. Peace^ 374 — 

" Lend me three drachmas for a sucking pig ! 
I must be purified before I die." 

P- 32j 1. 353) The Mere.] — ^[/xvac, the district /\ 
between the three hills — Acropolis, Areopagus, and 
Pnyx — where the ' Lenaion,' or 'Wine-Press,' and 
the shrine and precinct of Dionysus have been re- 
cently discovered. 

P. 32, 11. 354 fF.— The Hierophant's address is ap- 
parently a parody of some similar warning off of the 
impure at the Mysteries before the addresses to Korc 
(the Maiden), Demeter, and lacchus. As to the 
allusions : Cratinus is the celebrated comic poet, pre- 
cursor and rival of Aristophanes. He was personally 
a burly and vigorous " Beef-eater," and the word is 
additionally suitable in this context because the cere- 
monial eating of an ox's flesh, being sacramentally 
the flesh of Dionysus, the Mystic Bull of Zeus, was 
an essential part of the Orphic Mysteries. There 
were contests with bulls at the Eleusinian also. — 
Lobeck. Agl. p. 206, note c. 

P. 32, 1. 363. — Thorycion is unknown except for 
the allusions in this play. 

P- 33j 1- 3^6j ^ teacher of Choirs.] — He alludes 
to a ribald anecdote about the poet Kenesias (p. 113). 

P- 33) ^' 3^7) Pitiful fines.] — Many laws were 
passed restricting the licence and the expensiveness 
of comedy, e.g. by Archinos, Agyrrhius, and Arche- 
demus. 

P. 38, 1. 464, Aeacus.] — This character and his 
speech seem to be parodied from the Peirithous^ a 
tragedy attributed either to Euripides or to Critias 



ii6 EURIPIDES 

(acted after 411), where the real Heracles is con- 
fronted and threatened by the real Aeacus. " Gorgons" 
and "lampreys" are suitable in the infernal regions; 
but " lampreys of Tartcssus " in Spain were a well- 
known delicacy, and the " Gorgons " of the Attic 
district Tithras were apparently something human and 
feminine — like the Hostess who appears presently. 

P. 40. 1. 501, Melitcan,] — The quarter of Athens 
called Melite possessed a temple of Heracles, and 
perhaps a rough population. 

P. 40, 1. 505, Split-pea porridge, &c.]— Heracles, 
nearly always a comic figure on the Athenian stage 
(perhaps, as Professor Ridgeway suggests, because he 
was a " Pelasgian " hero), has gross and simple tastes 
in his food. Xanthias, I think, refuses out of caution, 
feeling that Persephone will detect his imposture, and 
then is overcome by temptation. 

P. 42, 1. 531, Alcmcna's son, &c.] — A tragic line, 
but of origin unknown. 

P. 42, 1. 541, Theramenes.] — This interesting man 
owes his bad name in The Frogs to his conduct with 
regard to the impeachment of the generals after Ar- 
ginusae (see pp. 72, 1 10). But he had made a similar 
impression, and earned his nickname of" The Buskin " 
— which goes equally well on either foot — in 411, 
when he first was a leader in the Oligarchic Revolu- 
tion, and then turned against it, and even spoke 
in accusation of his late associates, Antiphon and 
Archeptolemus, when they were being condemned 
to death. It would have been the same story in the 
second Oligarchic Revolution in 404, had not the 
extreme Oligarchs saved themselves by murdering 
him. A " Moderate " at a time when faction was 



COMMENTARY, ON THE FROGS 117 

furiously high, he is continually found supporiijig 
various movements until they " go too far." Aristotle 
{Const, of Athens^ cap. 28) counts him with Nicias and 
Thucydides, son of Melesias, as one of the "three 
best statesmen in Athenian history," and has an in- 
teresting defence of his character. He was certainly 
a man of great culture, eloquence, ability, and per- 
sonal influence. And his policy has a way of seeming 
exactly right. Yet he is unpleasantly stained with 
the blood of his companions, and one is not surprised 
to find the tone of Aristophanes towards him pecu- 
liarly soft and venomous, unlike his ordinary loud 
railing. 

P. 45, 11. 569, 570, Cleon . . . Hyperbolus.] — It 
is interesting to observe the duties — even in cari- 
cature — of a irpoaTarij'i rod Si]/Jiov, or Champion of 
the Demos. He fought the causes of the oppressed. 

P. 46, 1. 588, Archedcmus.] — See above, p. 35. 

P. 47, 1. 608, Ditylas, Skebylas, Pardokas.] — The 
barbarous names seem to be Thracian or Scythian. 
Police work in Athens was done by Scythian slaves. 

P. 48, 1. 616, Question this poor boy.] — A man's 
slaves would generally know about his movements. 
Hence it was a mark of conscious innocence for an ac- 
cused person to offer his slaves to be examined. They 
were examined under torture, or threats of torture, in 
order that they might fear the law as much as they 
feared their master, and were guaranteed protection 
against his anger if they told the truth. The master 
usually stipulated that no severe or permanently inju- 
rious torture should be used. Xanthias generously 
offers to let them maltreat Dionysus as much as ever 
they like ! 



ii8 EURIPIDES 

P. 48, 1. 621, No scourges made of leeks or young 
shalott.] — Why should any one imagine scourges 
made of such things ? Because such things were used 
for certain ceremonial scourgings ; for instance, Pan's 
statues were whipped with squills (Theoc. vii. 106), 
the scapegoats {pharmakoi) in Ionia with fig-twigs and 
squills (Hipponax, fr. 4-8), the disgraceful boor in 
Lucian [Against the Boor, 3 ; cf. Fugit, 33, and P'era 
Hist.^ ii. 26) with mallow. 

P. 49, I. 628, An illegal act, being immortal.] — 
A parody of the law. It was illegal to torture a 
citizen. 

P. 49, 1. 634, He won't feel it.] — There appears 
to be some inconsistency about this very funny 
scene. Dionysus does seem to feel it as much as 
Xanthias. 

P. 51, 1. 651, Diomean Feast,] — Held in honour of 
Heracles (whom Xanthias is personating) at the deme 
Diomeia every four years. 

P. 52, 1. 661, Hipponax.] — An earlier writer of 
satire. The next quotation is said to be from the 
LaocooH oi Sophocles. 

P- 53? 1- 679, Cleophon.]— The well-known belli- 
cose and incorruptible demagogue, who opposed peace 
in 410 (after the victory of Cyzicus), in 406 (after the 
victory of Arginusae), and in 405 (after the disaster of 
Aegospotami). Cleophon is said to have come drunk 
into the Agora and vowed that " he would cut off the 
head of any one who mentioned the word ' peace.' " 
He was shortly afterwards either assassinated or judici- 
ally murdered by the Moderates and Oligarchs. The 
point of these intentionally obscure and nonsensical 
lines seems to be : (i) that Cleophon talked bad Attic, 



COMMENTARY ON THE FROGS 119 

like a barbarian, and was in fact of Thracian birth ; 
(2) that he went about whining — and well he might ! 
— that his political enemies meant to twist the law 
somehow so as to have him condemned to death. An 
equally divided vote counted by rights as an acquittal. 
See also the last two lines of this play. 

P. 54, 1. 688, All Athenians shall be equal, &c.] — 
That is, an amnesty should be granted to those impli- 
cated in the Oligarchical Revolution led by Phry- 
nichus in 411. 

P. 54, 1. 694, Become Plataeans.] — When Plataea 
was destroyed by Sparta in 431, the refugees were 
granted rights of Athenian citizenship and eventually 
given land (421) in the territory of Skione in Chal- 
cidice. The slaves who were enfranchised after 
Arginusae were apparently sent to join the Plataeans. 

P. 56, 11. 718-720, Is the same towards men and 
money.] — Mr. George Macdonald has convinced me 
that such is the meaning of this passage. Gold 
coins were struck at this period (b.c. 407 ; Scholiast 
quoting Hellanicus and Philochorus), and were, to 
judge from those specimens now extant, of exceptional 
purity. Bronze coins also were struck (Schol. on 
v. 725) in the year 406-5, and apparently found 
unsatisfactory, as they were demonetised by the date 
of the Ecclesiazusae, B.C. 392 (Eccl. 816 ff.). See 
Kohler in Ze'ttsch. filr Numismatiky xxi. pp. 1 1 ff. 
Others take the general sense to be : — 

" It has often struck our notice that this city draws 
the same 
Line between her sons true-hearted and the men 
who cause her shame, 



I20 EURIPIDES 

As between our ancient silver and the stuft we now 

call gold. 
Those old coins knew naught of alloys ; everywhere 

their fame was told. 
Not all Hellas held their equal, not all Barbary far 

and near, 
Every tetradrachm well minted, tested each and 

ringing clear." 

This would be very satisfactory if there was any 
reason to suppose either that (i) there was an issue of 
base gold at this time, or (2) the new bronze coinage 
was jestingly called " the new gold." 

P. 56, 1. 730, Red-haired things.] — Northerners, 
especially from the Athenian colonies on the coast 
of Thrace. Asiatic ^aliens are comparatively seldom 
mentioned in Attic writers. 

P' 56, 1. 733) Scapegoats.] — (^upfiaKoiy like " Guy 
Fawkeses." Traditions and traditional ceremonies 
survived in various parts of Greece, pointing to the 
previous existence of an ancient and barbarous rite of 
using human " scapegoats," made to bear the sins of 
the people and then cast out or killed. See the frag- 
ments of Hipponax, 4-8. It is stated by late writers 
that in Athens two criminals, already condemned to 
death and ' full of sin,' were kept each year to be 
used in this way at the Feast of Thargelia. The 
sins of the city were ritually laid upon them ; they 
were, in ceremonial pretence, scourged before exe- 
cution ; their bodies were burnt by the sea-shore 
and their ashes scattered. The evidence is given in 
Rohde, Psyche, p. 366, 4. It is preposterous, to my 
thinking, to regard this as a " human sacrifice "^ — a 



COMMENTARY ON THE FROGS 121 

thing uniformly referred to with horror in Greek 
literature. 

P. 58, I. 756, Zeus of the Friendly Jailbirds.] — 
A deity invented to meet the occasion of their swearing 
friendship. 

P. 61, 1. 791, Clidemides informs vis.] — The joke 
is now unintelligible. Even the Alexandrian scholars 
did not know who Clidemides was. He may, for 
instance, have been some fussy person who toadied 
Sophocles and liked to give news about him. 

P. 61, 11. 799 ff., Straight-edges and cubit-rules, 
Sic,'\ — The art of scientific criticism, as inaugurated 
by Gorgias, Prodicus, Thrasymachus, and afterwards 
developed by Isocrates and Aristotle, would seem 
absurd to Aristophanes ; the beginnings of physics 
and astronomy and grammar are similarly — and less 
excusably — satirised in the Clouds. 

P. 62, II. 814-829. — The parody of Aeschylus is 
not so brilliant as that upon Euripides, whom Aristo- 
phanes knew to the tips of his fingers (pp. 94 seqq.). 
The "Thunderer" and "Thoughtbuilder" is Aeschy- 
lus ; the "Man of the Mouth," Euripides. 

P. 64, 1. 837, Bard of the noble savage.] — Aeschy- 
lus drew largely from the more primitive and wild 
strata of Greek legend, as in the Prometheus and 
Suppliants. The titles and fragments of the lost 
plays show the same tendency even more strongly. 

P. 64, 1. 840, How sayst thou. Son of the Goddess 
of the Greens.] — A parody of a line of Euripides 
(possibly from the Telephus\ where " Sea " stood in 
place of " Greens." Euripides' mother, Cleito, was 
of noble family (rcoy ocpuSpa eu'yepcov) and owned land. 
For some unknown reason it was a well-established 



122 EURIPIDES 

joke to call her a " Greengrocercss." (Cf. Ach. 457, 
478; Knights, 18 fF,; Thesm. 387, 456, 910, and 
the " beetroot and book juice," below, p. 70.) Pos- 
sibly the poet was at some time of his life a vegetarian. 

P. 64, 1. 842, Blind-bcggar-bard ; crutch-and-cripple 
playwright.] — Euripides seems to have used more or 
less realistic costumes. With him the shipwrecked 
Menelaus looked shipwrecked, the lame Telephus 
lame ; Electra, complaining of the squalor of her 
peasant life, was dressed like a peasant-woman. It is 
curious how much anger this breach in the tradition 
seems to have created. We are told that Aeschylus 
dressed all his characters in gorgeous sacerdotal robes. 
Yet I wonder if we moderns would have felt any 
very great difference between his Philoctetes or 
Telephus (in both of which cases the lameness is 
essential) and that of Euripides. 

P. 64, 1. 844, Strike not thine heart, &c.] — A 
tragic line, the source not known. 

P. 64, 1. 847, A black lamb.] — As sacrificed to 
appease Typhon, the infernal storm-god. 

P. 64, 1. 849, Cretan dancing-solos.] — Possibly a 
reference to his Cretan tragedies [The Cretans^ The 
Cretan IVomen) ; perhaps merely a style of dancing 
accompanied by song. 

P. 65, I. 855, Knock out all the Telephus.]— (Cf. 
"That'll knock the Sordello out of him"), i,e. his 
brains, which consist of Tekphus in masses. No play 
of Euripides is so often mocked at. 

P. 66, 1. 877, Founts of Quotation.] — Literally 
" makers of Gnomae " or quotable apophthegms. 

P. 68, 1, 910, Phrynichus.] — The tragic poet, pre- 
decessor of Aeschylus, not the oligarchical conspirator. 



COMMENTARY ON THE FROGS 123 

P. 68, 1. 911, Sole veiled figures.] — In the extant 
plays the silent Prometheus and the silent Cassandra 
are wonderfully impressive. Achilles (in the Phrygians) 
and Niche (in the N'lobe) seem to have been ' dis- 
covered ' sitting silent at the opening of the play. 
The Adrastus of Euripides' Suppliants (v. 104 ff.) is 
exactly similar ; the silences of Heracles [Her. v. 12 14) 
and Hecuba [Hec. v. 485), in the plays that bear their 
names, are different. 

P. 70, 1. 931, A question comes in night's long 
hours.] — From Hippolytus^ v. 375. A hippalector 
(horse-cock, a kind of flying horse with a bird's tail) 
was mentioned in the Myrmidons of Aeschylus ; 
both the adjective (translated " russet," but perhaps 
meaning " shrill ") and the noun were obscure, 
and the phrase is often joked upon ; e.g. Birds^ 
805, of the basket-seller Dieitrephes, who, from 
being nobody 

" Rose on wicker wings to captain, colonel, cavalry 
inspector. 
Till he holds the world in tow and ranks as russet 
hippalector," 

— where " scarlet " or " screaming " would suit better. 

P. 70, 1. 934, Eryxis.] — Unknown. The next 
line is considered spurious by some critics, as being 
inconsistent with Euripides' general argument. 

P. 70, 1. 937. — A " tragelaph," "goat-stag," was a 
name for the figures of antelopes, with large saw-like 
horns, found on Oriental tapestry. 

P. 70, 1. 941, Treatment for such distension . . . 
fed it up on solos.] — This account is generally true. 
Euripides, as an artist, first rationalised and clarified 



124 EURIPIDES 

his medium, and then re-enriched it. He first reduced 
the choric clement and made the individual line much 
lighter and less rich. Then he developed the play of 
incident, the lyrical *solo singing,' and the back- 
ground of philosophic meditation. 

P. 70, 1. 944, Cephisophon.] — A friend of Euri- 
pides (not a slave, as his name show^s), knovi^n chiefly 
from a fragment of Aristoplianes — 

" Most excellent and black Cephisophon, 
You lived in general v^^ith Euripides, 
And helped hi?n in his poetry^ they say." 

A late story, improbable for chronological reasons, 
makes him a lover of the poet's wife. 

P. 71, 1. 952, That's no road, &c.] — Euripides in 
later life severely attacked the Democratic party. E.g. 
Orestes^ 902-930. See introduction to The Bacchae. 

P. 72, 1. 963, Magic Swans.] — It is not known 
in what play Aeschylus introduced the swan-hero 
Cycnus. Memnon, the * Aethiop knight,' occurred 
in two plays, the Memnon and the Soul-iveighing. 

P. 72, 1. 964. — The difference between the pupils 
of Aeschylus and Euripides is interesting. Aeschylus 
turned out stout, warlike, old-fashioned Democrats ; 
Euripides, " intellectueh " of Moderate or slightly oli- 
garchical politics. 

P. 72, 1. 965, Phormisius.] — ^One of the Deino- 
cratic stalwarts who returned with Thrasybulus. 
He proposed the amnesty of 403, recalling the exiles. 
He was afterwards ambassador to Persia. He is 
described as bearded, shaggy, and of truculent aspect, 
and died (according to gossip) in a drinking bout. A 
sort of Mapad(ovofid')(7)<; person, loyal and unsubtle. 



COMMENTARY ON THE FROGS 125 

P. 72, 1. 965. — Megainetus is not elsewhere men- 
tioned, and the meaning of the word fiavf]<i, " looby 
lump," is obscure. It seems to be a slave's name, and 
also the name of a bad throw at dice. 

P. 72, 1. 967, Cleitophon.] — One of the coadjutors 
of Theramenes in the Oligarchical Revolution of 
41 1 (Jr. Rep. Ath. 29, 3). He also gives his name 
to a fragmentary Platonic dialogue, where he argues 
that Socrates is of inestimable value in rousing the 
conscience of the quite unconverted man, but worse 
than useless to the converted man who seeks positive 
guidance. Cleitophon is there connected with Lysias 
and Thrasymachus, both of them Democrats. His 
political attitude would therefore seem to be like that 
of Theramenes, This party may be taken to repre- 
sent the general views of Euripides, Thucydides, 
Isocrates, and Aristotle, and indeed, apart from certain 
personal prejudices and a dislike to intellectualism, of 
Aristophanes himself. In general, as Mr. Neil says in 
his introduction to the Knights^ "Attic literature is on 
the side of the Moderates, in favour somewhat vaguely 
of a restricted franchise and clearly of a Panhellenic 
peace " (involving a more liberal treatment of the 
Allies). The closer Platonic circle was in a different 
position. Many of its members were compromised by 
the bitterer Oligarchic Revolution of 404, and sepa- 
rated from Moderates as well as Democrats by a river 
of blood. 

P. 72, 1. 967. — For Theramenes, see above, p. 116. 

P. 73, 1. 970, Not aces — no; all sixes.] — E.g. it 
looked as if Theramenes was fatally compromised by 
the non-recovery of the bodies at Arginusae ; instead 
of which he contrived to make himself leader of the 



126 EURIPIDES 

agitation on that very subject. (The reading, however, 
is doubtful.) 

P. 73, 1. 992, Great Achilles, gaze around thee] — 
" on the spear-tortured labours of the Achacans, vv^hile 
thou within thy tent . . ." — From the Myrmidons of 
Aeschylus. 

P. 76, 1. 1026. — The Persae was, as a matter of 
fact, performed in 472, before the Seven against Thebes 
(467); nor does the exact exclamation " Yow-oy," 
lavol, occur in it. But various odd quasi-Persian forms 
do : oi^ 6d, laid. 

P. 77, 1. 1 03 1, Those poets have all been of practi- 
cal use, &c.] — This passage, dull and unintelligent as 
it seems (unless some jest in it escapes me), is not 
meant to be absurd. It implies an argument of this 
sort : " All poetry, to be good, must do something 
good ; " a true statement as it stands. " Homer and 
the ancients do good to people." No one would 
dare to deny this, and no doubt it is true ; he does 
them good by helping them to see the greatness and 
interestingness of things, by filling their minds with 
beauty, and so on ; but the ordinary man, having a 
narrower idea of good, imagines that Homer must 
do him "good " in one of the recognised edifying or 
dogmatic ways, and is driven to concluding that 
Homer does him good by his military descriptions 
and exhortations ! 

Aeschylus proceeds, " I am like Homer because I 
describe battles and brave deeds, and similar things 
that are good for people. Euripides is unlike Homer, 
because he describes all sorts of other things, which 
are not in Homer, and are therefore probably trash ; 
at any rate some of them are improper ! " 



COMMENTARY ON TFIE FROGS 127 

This is ordinary philistinism. Aeschylus struck 
Aristophanes as being like Homer, not because they 
were both warlike, but chiefly because they were both 
great well-recognised poets of the past, whom he had 
accepted in his childhood without criticism. He 
attacks Euripides for making him think and feel in 
some new or disturbing way, or perhaps at a time 
of life when he does not expect really to think and 
feel at all. Probably the contemporaries of Aeschylus 
attacked him in just the same way. He made people 
think of the horrors of victory and of vengeance ; 
he made a most profound and un-Homeric study of 
the guilty Clytaemnestra. But Aristophanes, when 
in his present mood, resembles that modern critic 
who is said to have praised Shakespeare for writ- 
ing " bright, healthy plays with no psychology in 
them." 

P. 77, 1. 1036, Pantacles.] — A lyric poet, one of 
whose victories is recorded on an extant inscribed 
pillar (Dittenberger, 410). The "procession" was 
doubtless at the Panathenaea six months before. 

P. .77, 1. 1039, Lamachus.] — The general who died 
so heroically in the Sicilian expedition. He is attacked 
in the Acharnians as representative of the war party, 
partly perhaps because of his name (" Love-battle " or 
" Host-fighter "). He is treated respectfully in Thesm. 
841. 

P. 77, 1. 1043, Stheneboia.] — Phaedra, heroine of 
the Hippolytus. 

P. 77, 1. 1044, A woman in love in one act of one 
play.] — An exaggeration. Clytaemnestra is in love 
with Aegisthus, as any subtle reading of the Agamem- 
non shows ; but other passions are more prominent, 



128 EURIPIDES 

and love in Aeschylus is on the whole treated with 
reserve and stiffness. There was, however, a famous 
speech of Aphrodite in the Dana'ideSy explaining her- 
self as a world-force. And Euripides would probably 
have shrunk from writing such lines as Mynnidons, 
fr. 135, 136, and from representing Semele's pregnancy 
as Aeschylus seems to have done in the play called 
by her name (see Nauck)^ a great deal more than 
Aeschylus would have shrunk from the delicate psy- 
chology of Euripides' Phaedra. In the dramatic 
treatment of female character Aeschylus was really 
the pioneer who opened the road for Euripides. 
The Clytaemnestra of the Agamemnon probably differs 
from the women of earlier poets in just the same 
way as Phaedra differs from her, and to a far greater 
degree. 

P. 78, 1. 1046, Once . . . left you flat on the 
ground.] — The allusion is entirely obscure. 

P. 78, 1. 1 05 1, To gratify Bellerophontes.] — That 
hero, in a fury, had wished that all women might 
poison themselves. 

P. 79, 1. 1058, The language of men.] — Euripides, 
as represented, agrees with Wordsworth. The general 
voice of poetry is clearly against both. 

P. 80, 1. 1074, And spit on the heads, &c.] — One 
of the passages which show that Aristophanes could 
see the other side when he chose. Your stout, igno- 
rant pre-sophistic farmer or sailor was a bit of a brute 
after all ! 

P. 80, I. 1080, Goes into shrines.] — Augc. 

P. 80, 1. 1 08 1, Her own brother's wife.] — Canace 
in the Aeolus, 



COMMENTARY ON THE FROGS 129 

P. 80, 1. 1082, Life is not Life.] — See the Polyidus. 
The same sentiment occurs in the Phrixus. 

P. 82, 1. 1 1 09, If you fear from former cases, &c.] 
— The meaning may also be that they have a book 
in their hands at the time, viz. a copy of the play. 
So Van Leeuvi^en : "These verses were added in the 
second performance of The Frogs. At the first per- 
formance . . . this part of the play had been over the 
heads of some, perhaps many, of the audience. But 
now, says the Chorus, this objection is removed ; copies 
of the play are in every citizen's hand." 

P. 82, 1. 1 124, Oresteia,] — The prologue quoted 
is that of the Choephori ; Oresteia (" The Orestes- 
poetry "), seems to have been another name for that 
play. We apply the word to the whole trilogy — 
Agamemnon^ Choephori^ Eumenides. The growth of 
formal titles for books was a very slow thing. Pro- 
bably Aeschylus scarcely " named " his plays much 
more definitely than Herodotus and Thucydides 
" named " their histories. Even Euripides' plays 
sometimes bear in the MSS. varying names : Bacchae 
or PentheuSy Hippolytus or Phaedra. By the time of 
Plato regular names for plays must have been estab- 
lished, as he named his dialogues in evident analogy 
from plays. 

P. 83, 1. 1 126, Warding a father's way.]— A 
phrase really obscure. Commentators differ about the 
interpretation. 

P. 84, 1. 1 1 50, Dionysus, dull of fragrance, &c.]— 
Apparently a tragic line. 

P. 87, 1. 1 1 82, At first was Oedipus, &c.] — Pro- 
logue to Euripides' Antigone. 

1 



r30 EURIPIDES 

P. 88, 1. 1 1 96, Erasinides.] — One of the com- 
manders at Arginusae. There was one piece of bad 
luck that Oedipus missed. 

P. 88, 1. 1200, One umbrella.] — Literally "one 
oil cruse." An ancient Athenian carried a cruse of 
olive oil about with him, both to anoint himself with 
after washing and to eat like butter with his food. 
Naturally he was apt to lose it, especially when 
travelling. I can find no object which both ancient 
Greeks and modern Englishmen would habitually use 
and lose except an umbrella. 

The point of this famous bit of fooling is, I think, 
first, that Euripides' tragic style is so little elevated 
that umbrellas and clothes-bags are quite at home in 
it ; secondly, that there is a certain monotony of 
grammatical structure in Euripides' prologues, so that 
you can constantly finish a sentence by a half-line 
with a verb in it. 

The first point, though burlesquely exaggerated, is 
true and important. Euripides' style, indeed, is not 
prosaic. It is strange that competent students of 
Greek tragic diction should ever have thought it so. 
But it is very wide in its range, and uses very collo- 
quial words by the side of very romantic or archaic 
ones — a dangerous and difficult process, which only a 
great master of language can successfully carry through. 
Cf. the criticism on the * light weight ' of his lines, 
below, pp. 97 fF. 

As to the second point, it is amusing to make out 
the statistics. Of the extant Greek tragedies, the 
following can have XtjkvOlov uTrcokeae stuck on to 
one of the first ten lines of the prologue : Aesch. Prom. 
8, Sept. 6, Eum. 3 (a good one, fj Srj ro fi-qrpoq 



COMMENTARY ON THE FROGS 131 

X.r)Kvdiov d7ro}Xeaev)y and several other lines ; Soph. 
O. T. 4, El. 5, Track. 3 and 6, Jntig. 2 and 7 
(ap olad' OTt Zeix; \. a.) ; Euripides, Tro. 10, Hec. 2, 
Phoen. 7, Hclid^ 2 and 4, //^r. 9, Hf/. 4, £"/. 10, /. A. 
54 ( = 6), and /. T. 2, quoted here. Thus all three 
tragedians have such passages in the opening of about 
half their extant plays, and the " monotony," if such 
it be, belongs rather to the style of the tragic prologue 
than to Euripides. 

A third allusion seems to have been felt by the 
ancient writers on rhetoric. AyKvOo-i and Xt^kvOlov 
(Synesius, p. 55), in the sense of " paint-flask" (Latin 
ampulla)^ vv^ere cant terms for " ornament in diction." 
Euripides' tragic heroes, with their plain style of 
speech, seem to have lost their paints. I do not think 
Aristophanes meant this. 

P. 88, 1. 1206, Aegyptus, &c.] — The first words, 
it is said, of the Archelaus^ though Aristarchus, the 
famous Alexandrian scholar, says that the Archelaus 
as published in his time had a different prologue 
without these words. Apparently there were two 
alternative prologues ; cf. the Iphigettia in Aulis. 

P. 89, 1. 121 1, Dionysus, &c.] — Opening of the 
Hypsipyle. It went on : "amid the Delphian maids." 

P. 89, I. 1217, No man hath bliss, &c.] — Opening 
of the Stheneboea. It went on : " Rich acres holds to 
plough." 

P. 90, 1. 1225, Cadmus long since] — "his way to 
Thebe won." Opening of the Phrixus. 

P. 90, 1. 1232, Pelops the Great] — "a royal bride 
had won." Opening of the Iphigenia in Taurisy still 
extant. 

P. 91, 1. 1238, Oineus from earth.] — From the 



132 EURIPIDES 

Meleager^ but not (according to the Scholiast) the first 
words. It went on : " Left one due deed undone, 
Praising not Artemis." 

P. 91, 1. 1244, Great Zeus in heaven, &c. — Open- 
ing of Melanippe the Wise. It went on : " Was sire 
to Hellen," and therefore did not really admit the 
Xi^kvBlov tag. 

P. 91, 1. 1247, As bunged up as your eyes.] — There 
are various allusions to Euripides' bodily infirmities in 
his extreme old age. 

Pp. 92 ff., 11. 1264 ff. — Aristophanes parodying 
Aeschylus is not nearly as brilliant and funny as when 
parodying Euripides. The lines here are all actual 
lines of Aeschylus : a refrain is made of a line which 
is good sense when first used, but easily relapses into 
gibberish. The plays quoted are, in order, the 
MyrmidonSy Raisers of the Dcad^ Telephus (1)^ Priestesses^ 
Agamemnon (v. 104) ; then, for the cithara songs, 
Agamemnon (v. 109), Sphinx^ Agamemnon (v. ill), 
Sphinx (?), Thracian IV omen. 

P. 94, 1. 1294, War towards Aias.] — Obscure and 
perhaps corrupt. 

P. 94, 1. 1296, Was it from Marathon, &c.] — " Did 
you find that sort of stuff growing in the marsh of 
Marathon when you fought there ? " Aeschylus 
answers : " Never you mind where I got it. It 
was from a decent place ! " The metre of the song, 
and presumably the music, is Stesichorean. 

P. 94, 1. 1308, No Lesbian.] — I.e. she is very unlike 
the simple old Lesbian music of Sappho and Alcaeus ; 
but there is a further allusion to the supposed impro- 
prieties of Lesbian women. 

P. 94, 1. 1309, Ye halcyons, &c.] — This brilliant 



COMMENTARY ON THE FROGS 133 

parody contains a few actual Euripidean phrases ; of. 
/. T. 1089— 

" O bird, that wheeling o'er the main 
By crested rock and crested sea 
Cryest for ever piteously, 
O Halcyon, I can read thy pain," &c. 

and El. 435 seqq.^ "Where the tuneful dolphin winds 
his way before the dark-blue-beaked ships." " The 
shuttle's minstrel mind " is said by the Scholiast to be 
from the Meleager. 

P. 95, 1. 13 14, Wi-i-i-ind.] — A musical "shake." 
This particular word elXiaaw is scanned el-eiXtaaw 
(and actually so written in one MS.) in EL 437, the 
passage cited above ; and a papyrus fragment of the 
Orestes has to? written (ow^ with two musical notes 
above it. Of course the thing is common in lyric 
poetry, both Greek and English, but decidedly rarer 
in Aeschylus than in Euripides. 

P. 95, 1. 1323, That foot.] — The metrical foot, 
irepL/SaXX'y an anapaest rather irregularly used : I 
imitate the effect in "arm-pressure." 

P. 95, 1. 1328, Cyrene.] — Not much is known of 
her, and that not creditable. 

P. 96, 1. 1331, Thou fire-hearted Night, &c.] — 
Cf. the solo of Hecuba {Hec. 68 seqq.). The 
oxymoron (" his soul no soul ") and the repetitions 
are very characteristic of Euripides, though common 
enough in Aeschylus {e.g. Aesch. Suppliants^ 836 fF., 
where there are seven such repetitions). It is not 
Euripides, but Greek tragedy in general, that is hit by 
this criticism. 

P. 97, 1. 1356, Cretans take up your bows, &c.] — 



134 EURIPIDES 

From Euripides' Cretans^ according to the Scholiast, 
but he does not specify the lines. 

P. 97, 1. 1365, Bring him to the balance : the one 
sure test.] — This is indeed the one test — and a fairly 
important one — in which Euripides must be utterly 
beaten by Aeschylus. Every test hitherto has been 
inconclusive. 

P. loi, after 1. 1410, Room for the King, &c.] — I 
have inserted this line. There seems to be a gap of 
several lines in our MSS. 

P. 10 1, 1. 1 41 3, The one's so good,] = viz. Euripides, 
and " I so love " Aeschylus. — Euripides was ao^o<;y 
being master of the learning, including conscious poeti- 
cal theory, which had not fully entered into the ideals 
of the educated Athenian in Aeschylus' time. 

P. 102, 1. 1422, Alcibiades.] — He was now in his 
second exile. Appointed one of the three generals 
of the Sicilian expedition in 415, he was called back 
from his command to be tried for " impiety " (in con- 
nection with the mutilation of the Hermae). He fled 
and was banished ; then he acted with Sparta against 
Athens in order to procure his recall. Upon the out- 
break of the Oligarchic Revolution of 411, the fleet, 
which remained democratic, recalled Alcibiades. He 
commanded with success for three years, returned to 
Athens in triumph in 408, and was formally appointed 
Commander-in-Chief. The defeat at Notium in 406, 
for which his carelessness was considered responsible, 
caused him to be superseded, and he retired to the 
castles which were his private possessions in the 
Cliersonese, maintaining an ambiguous political atti- 
tude, but on the whole friendly to Athens. He was 
mysteriously assassinated in 404. The divergent 



COMMENTARY ON THE FROGS 135 

advice of the two poets is clear and probably charac- 
teristic. Euripides says, " Have no dealings w^ith such 
a shifty and traitorous person ; " Aeschylus says, 
"Make all the use you can, even with some risk, 
of every good fighter." And this would, no doubt, 
be Aristophanes' view, to judge from the Parabasis 
of this play (pp. 54-56). 

P. 1 02, I. 1425, She loves and hates, &c.] — Said to 
be parodied from a line in The Sentinels [t^povpoi.) by 
Ion of Chios. 

P. 102, 1. 1434, The one so wise, &c,] — I do not 
think that any real distinction is drawn between cro^w?, 
"wisely," and aa(f>a)<;y "truly" or "convincingly." 

P. 103, 1. 1443J Where Mistrust is, &c.] — The re- 
spective lines of advice are the same as before. Euri- 
pides says, " Purge your governing bodies and keep 
the morale of the state sound " ; Aeschylus says, 
"Fight your hardest and think of nothing but 
fighting." 

P. 104, 1. 1468, My choice shall fall, &c.] — Seems 
to be a tragic line. 

P. 104, 1. 147 1, My tongue hath sworn.] — Hippolytus, 
V. 612 (see above, p. 112). 

P. 105, 1. 1474, Canst meet mine eyes, &c.] — From 
Euripides' Aeolus. 

P. 105, 1. 1477, Who knoweth if to live, &c.] — 
From the Polytdus (cf. above, p. 80). 

P. 106, 1. 1482, Then never with Socrates, &c.] — A 
most interesting attack on the Socratic circle for lack 
of brains — of all charges ! Plato, Critias, and "other 
pretty fellows" (see p. iii) wrote tragedies, and no 
doubt seemed to old stagers like Aristophanes to break 
" the drama's principal rules." 



136 EURIPIDES 

p. 1 06, 11. 1504 ff., This sword is for Cleophon.] — Viz. 
to kill himself with (see on Cleophon above, p. 118). 
The " Board of Providers " was specially appointed to 
raise revenue by extraordinary means after the Sicilian 
disasters. Myrmex and Archenomus are otherwise 
unknown. Nicomachus was a legal official against 
whom Lysias wrote his speech, No. XXX. Adei- 
mantus is a better known figure. A disciple of Prota- 
goras, he was a general in 407 and in actual command 
at the defeat of Notium. He was appointed general 
again after the condemnation of those concerned in 
the battle of Arginusae ; continued in his command 
next year, and was responsible, through incompetence 
or deliberate treachery, for the annihilation of the 
Athenian fleet by Lysander at Aegospotami (404). 

P. 107, 1. 1528, Peace go with him, &c.] — The 
dactylic hexameter metre is rather characteristic of 
Aeschylus, and so is the solemnity of these last lines — 
so charmingly broken by the jest at the very end. 

P. 108, 1. 1533, Fields of his father.] — The leader of 
the extreme ' patriotic ' party was supposed to be a 
foreigner — of Thracian descent. 



Printed by Bai.lantynh, Hanson &' Co. 
Edinbuigh <5r> London 



Br THE SAME AUTHOR 

HISTORY OF ANCIENT GREEK LITERATURE. 

ANDROMACHE: A Plat. 

CARLYON SAHIB : A Plat. 

THE EXPLOITATION OF INFERIOR RACES, 
IN ANCIENT AND MODERN TIMES: An 
EssAT IN ' Liberalism and the Empire,' 

EURIPIDIS FABULAE: Bkevi Adnotatione Critica 
Instructae, Vols, I. and II. 

EURIPIDES: Hippolttus ; Bacchae ; Aristophanks' 
' Frogs." Translated into English verse. 

EURIPIDES: The Trojan Women. Translated into 
English verse. 

EURIPIDES: Electra. Translated into English verse 

EURIPIDES : Medea. Translated into English verse. 

THE RISE OF THE GREEK EPIC. 



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